Michael Douglas has denied that he sexually harassed a former employee over 30 years ago.
The actor recently became aware that a former employee was going to release claims that he had masturbated in front of her, used explicit language in front of her, and “blackballed” her from the industry in the press.
In a pre-emptive interview with US entertainment website Deadline, Michael revealed that he was approached for a comment from The Hollywood Reporter regarding the allegations.
When asked why he chose to come forward before the story even came out, Michael said, “I felt the need to get ahead of this. It pertains to me but I’m also getting a sense of how it reflects in our culture, and what is going on today. I see it as a cautionary tale.”
The woman worked for Michael “approximately 32 years ago”, and he has said that her claims are a “complete lie, fabrication, no truth to it whatsoever”.
“It’s extremely painful. I pride myself on my reputation in this business, not to mention the long history of my father and everything else,” he said. “I don’t have skeletons in my closet, or anyone else who’s coming out or saying this.”
“I’m bewildered why, after 32 years, this is coming out, now. As I say, I will ‘fess up to colourful language, but the issue of masturbating in front of her? That rung is something I’ve only heard about the last year. It’s not an expression that related to the ‘80s. So I thought it stunk.”
The 73-year-old, who has been married to Catherine Zeta-Jones for 17 years, also revealed that his children are “really upset” over the claims.
“And I tried to figure out, why the hell would somebody do this? The part that hurt the worst is having to share something like this to your wife and your children.
“My kids are really upset, has to go to school worrying this is going to be in some article about me, being a sexual harasser. They’re scared and very uncomfortable.”
Michael also added that he “never blackballed” the woman from the industry, and that he supports women and the #MeToo movement.
“It has been a complete nightmare. It’s really hard to conceive that I have to defend myself against a situation that is 32 years ago, and it was not what they are saying it was.”
He also said that he is “grateful” to have the support of his wife Catherine and their two children, Dylan and Carys.