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Michael Douglas Denies Harassment Story Before It's Even Announced
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12 Jan 2018 12:46 PM EST

-by Laura Tucker, Staff Writer; Image: Michael Douglas (Image Source: Georges Biard via Wikimedia Commons)

Many men have been taken down in the last few months thanks to sexual misconduct accusations. Some admit to the acts while others flat-out deny doing anything like that.

Michael Douglas seems to have stolen the thunder from his accuser. He announced the story and denied it happened before his accuser had a chance to go public.

The 73-year-old actor/producer is being accused of pulling a "Louis C.K." A former employee has said he masturbated in front of her. Both The Hollywood Reporter and Variety had reached out to him regarding the accusation that reportedly happened 30 years ago. He realizes he could be opening himself up to more trouble but wanted to control how this played out, so he asked Deadline if he could share his story.

"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," Douglas told Deadline.

He laid out his version of the story, stating, "I see it as a cautionary tale. Right before the holidays in December, the day my son got early acceptance to the college he wants to go to, when we were all ecstatic, I got a message from my attorney that The Hollywood Reporter wanted to do a story about an employee that worked for me approximately 32 years ago.

"She claims that, One, I used colorful language in front of her, not at her, but that I used colorful language. Two, she claims that in conversations I had in front of her, on the phone, that I spoke raunchily, or dirtily with friends of mine, in private conversations."

Douglas allows that he did fire her but says it was because of the work she was doing: "Three, she claims that I blackballed her from the industry and stopped her from getting another job. Four, she claims that I masturbated in front of her."

"I tried to think, to reach back 30-plus years to try to remember. I remembered this woman: sophisticated, intelligent, good sense of humor. A novelist who has written books and published novels and was an active feminist and proud of it," he recalled of his accuser.

"My head was reeling," he allows. "I just couldn't put this together. I've had no contact with her in thirty-plus years."

He told the reporter who was contacting him about the story, "Listen, as far as using colorful language in front of her, I apologize. None of it was directed at her; she didn't say it was. It was my office, and that was the tone that I set, and as far as conversations with friends, I work out of my house, my apartment in New York at the time, to the best of my recollection.

"As to colorful language, she may have overheard private conversations, and if she was offended, she could have excused herself. As far as blackballing her, that was completely untrue.

"She was a lady who was involved in development at my company," he explained, "and we just didn't have a good development record in the time she was there, so I just moved on. I never blackballed her. If people from the industry called me to ask about her, I would have been honest, but I never blackballed her."

In regards to the masturbation accusation, he insisted, "This is a complete lie, fabrication, no truth to it whatsoever."

The reporter let him know that she did say he never harassed her or touched her and then asked to sit on it over the holidays.

But as soon as the holidays were over, The Hollywood Reporter got in touch with him again and said, "She's running around, possibly trying to give this story to other people, so we're going to run with it."

The Oscar winner told them, "I don't think that's justification, just because you might get scooped, to run a story like this."

He'd also heard from his attorney that either Variety or another outlet had approached him about the accusation.

"She supposedly had three friends who would back her up, that she had mentioned this to. I pride myself of being so supportive of the women's movement. My mother was an actress, and I myself am married to an actress and have been supportive of this movement wholeheartedly, through all my years."

Realizing how many women he's worked with in his storied career, he asked, "How am I, in a 50-year career in this industry, dealing with an employee 33 years ago who perhaps is disgruntled that I let her go, even though I have never heard from her in 32 years. And a legitimate trade publication is going to try and print this story? There is no corroboration, just that they found out somebody else might run the story."

He also notes that his accuser is a blogger, and he believes she's trying to get a book deal. He wonders if perhaps she's "disgruntled" that her career hasn't panned out the way she'd hoped.

"I can't believe that someone would cause someone else pain like that."

"My reasons are personal in coming forward," he allowed, "but I'm going to continue the way I've always treated women, as equals and my peers, working closely with them. I would hope that as a cautionary tale, we will be careful about accusing and being accused."

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