Morgan Freeman: A Think Piece

Morgan Freeman is the new target in the line of the #MeToo #TimesUp fire and he’s already losing jobs over it. Last week CNN reported that they spoke to 16 people as a part of an investigation into the 80 year old actor. CNN said 8 people they spoke with claimed they were victims of what SOME labeled harassment and others labeled inappropriate behavior.

You can read the CNN article here: Morgan Freeman Investigation

I have some thoughts about this. Let’s unpack, shall we? In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein story, the country and the world has been watching Hollywood eat itself. Some would say that there’s always been a dark side of Hollywood, that none of this is new, but it feels new in the sense that NOW, things are being done about it. Harvey Weinstein has been arrested and charged and that is a good thing.

But when is the new way not the best way to handle these stories?

The new way: A) Someone makes an accusation. B)The media gets involved and spins it the way they want. C) Twitter goes insane and drags the person. D)Accused is fired from jobs.

The Mainstream Media:

How did the Morgan Freeman story even come about? Why now? Well, the source comes from one of their own. A reporter for CNN, Chloe Melas.

The initial tip did not come from a phone call, email or letter. It came from Ms. Melas herself.

She had been sent to cover a publicity event last year for “Going in Style,” a film starring Mr. Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin. Ms. Melas, who was pregnant at the time with her son Leo, said that Mr. Freeman looked her up and down and made several remarks along the lines of “I wish I was there,” one of which was captured on video. She reported the incident to CNN, which then informed Warner Bros., the studio behind the film. Warner Bros., which like CNN is a division of Time Warner, responded later that it could not corroborate the account because only the one comment was recorded and other Warner Bros. employees said they had not seen anything.

It is rare for reporters to become part of their own stories, but Ms. Melas’s article was not the first of its kind in recent months.

Last November, Laura McGann, an editor at Vox, wrote an article about her interactions with a New York Times reporter, Glenn Thrush, as well as those of other women, all accusing him of inappropriate behavior. Mr. Thrush disputed Ms. McGann’s characterization of their encounter; after investigating the accusations in the article The Times said he had “behaved in ways that we do not condone” and Mr. Thrush ultimately was suspended for two months.

Isn’t that interesting? “It is rare for reporters to become a part of their own stories”

Yet there’s been two in less than a year concerning the MeToo movement. Both resulting in the accused getting fired from positions in their field.

From The NY Times interview with Chloe Melas:

Was there any resistance at CNN to your doing this?

I was told: “Go for it. If you have anything, we can discuss it.” I started reporting it out and locking myself in a conference room and just calling people who had worked on all of Morgan Freeman’s films. I got several people to share their stories with me and after, I went to my editors and I said, “This is what I have.” They said, “Wow, O.K.” That’s when they said, “We are going to assign An Phung to report this out with you.”

Read the whole interview HERE

Basically an 80 year old man looked her up and down and said “I wish I was there.”

And here we are. She built an entire story out of that. An investigation that is resulting in Mr. Freeman losing two jobs so far and an acting legacy he’s worked 30+ years at. Does the punishment fit the crime here? I think not.

Video of Freeman and accuser, Chloe Melas.

Watch this and see for yourself. This woman is awful.

The media holds too much power and Twitter is coming a close second in convicting people on a dime without thorough investigation and everyone seems fine with it. Why?

Morgan Freeman devastated by the allegations responded to the story:

“I am devastated that 80 years of my life is at risk of being undermined, in the blink of an eye, by Thursday’s media reports,” Freeman said in a statement, a day after he initially apologised.

“But I also want to be clear: I did not create unsafe work environments. I did not assault women. I did not offer employment or advancement in exchange for sex. Any suggestion that I did so is completely false,” he added.

Freeman said he is someone who feels a need to try to make women and men feel appreciated and at ease around him. As part of that, he would often try to joke with and compliment women, in what he thought was a light-hearted and humorous way, he said.

“Clearly I was not always coming across the way I intended. And that is why I apologised Thursday and will continue to apologise to anyone I might have upset, however unintentionally,” he said.

Now the Vancouver of public transit has removed Freeman from being the voice of their announcements played at stations and routes of Vancouver’s busses, ferries and trains.

“In light of information we’ve learned through news stories on May 24, 2018, of serious allegations against actor Morgan Freeman, TransLink has decided to pause his voice announcements as part of a VISA ad campaign on the transit system.

After the announcement, a Canadian reporter suggested Seth Rogen as a replacement and Translink approved the suggestion and messaged Rogen to discuss the idea.

And just like that, Seth Rogen has the job.

Now what happens when a skeleton flies out of Seth Rogen’s closet? Do we just assume he’s squeaky clean and wait and see?

This whole story rubs me the wrong way, to be frank.

Is this where we are at as a society? That people can now say anything about anyone, the media whips people into a frenzy with it and automatically, without a trial or even a police report made, a person’s life is ruined, everything they’ve worked for, over?

I just want to point out the other side, because it seems the other side is always dragged when it makes a point, but there are people out there that are pathological liars. People that can make up whole stories, embellish stories, complete with vivid details that sound like they could be in a novel. These people are out there. They want attention. In the Entertainment industry, is it really hard to believe that Hollywood isn’t littered with these people?

As far as Chloe Melas, she’s an entertainment reporter. It looks like she wanted to make a name for herself. She took a sentence, twisted it into something bad so she could dig for months to find people to rally around her in taking down a man for her own ambitions. Sick!

Also, where is Ashley Judd?

As a fierce member of the MeToo movement, wouldn’t she have something to say about Morgan Freeman, as she’s done 5 movies with him?

Where are ANY of the MANY actresses he’s worked with over the years?

Another question, when does flirtatious verbal banter cross the line? Does it ever? Do you think anything Morgan Freeman said to any of these accusers warrant him to lose jobs and have his name tarnished forever?

I’ve been scouring the internet’s articles on this story for comments from regular people and I’m finding more people on Morgan Freeman’s side than not. Many of them WOMEN. There seems to be a backlash developing toward the MeToo movement.

Yes, we need to believe women. But we also have to be realistic and acknowledge that not everything is what it seems. That there are two sides to every story, and if a crime has indeed been committed, the authorities should be involved before a person is judged and convicted by Twitter.

It feels a little like the Salem Witch Trials, where hysteria is getting the best of us. Maybe that’s the karma of life. I don’t know, but I often wonder if in the future, we will look back and think, what were we doing?

#LeaveMorganFreemanAlone #MorganFreemanIsInnocent


[photo credits to WireImage and Shutterstock]

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