Michael Douglas took the first step in denying sexual harassment claims before the allegations went public. In an interview with Deadline, published on Tuesday, January 9, the 73-year-old denied a former employee's claims that he was sexually inappropriate in front of her 32 years ago. The interview comes after the actor was contacted by different publications with regards to the claims, in addition to allegations that he used colorful language in front of her and blackballed her from the industry after he fired her.
"This is a complete lie, fabrication, no truth to it whatsoever," Michael said, adding that his head was "reeling” from the allegation of sexual misconduct. With regards to the other claims, he apologized for his language, but noted that ”none of it was directed at her.”
VIEW GALLERY Michael said he has the support of his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones Photo: Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Jazz at Lincoln Center
He explained: "She may have overheard private conversations, and it 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, and we just didn't have a good development record in the time she was there, so I just moved on.” He added, "If people from the industry called me to ask about her, I would have been honest, but I never blackballed her."
Michael, who shares son Dylan, 17, and daughter Carys, 14, with his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, described the allegations as "extremely painful.” "I pride myself on my reputation in this business, not to mention the long history of my father [Kirk Douglas] and everything else," he said. "I don't have skeletons in my closet, or anyone else who's coming out or saying this."
VIEW GALLERY The actor admitted that his two teenage kids are upset by the claims Photo: Instagram/catherinezetajones
The dad-of-three continued: "I tried to figure out, why the hell would somebody do this? The part that hurt the most is having to share something like this with your wife and your children. My kids are really upset, [they had 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."
Of his decision to preemptively address the claims, Michael shared: "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. I had the choice of waiting for a story to come out, one that will clearly get picked up by other newspapers and magazine, and then I have to sit there and try and defend myself. Or, try to share with the public, a little ahead of the story, my thoughts and concerns. Again, I am sorry if I used course language with my friends. But this is really debilitating. It can have a large effect on my career. And also, I think it really sends a message out."
VIEW GALLERY Michael said, "I pride myself on my reputation in this business, not to mention the long history of my father [Kirk Douglas]" Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
The Hollywood star, whose wife attended Sunday’s female empowering Golden Globes, further added that he supports the #MeToo movement. “I have always supported women, along the way. This is the kind of step that can set that movement back. Being accused, without a chance [to defend yourself] in court. To not even really have the information in front of you, to be able to argue or defend yourself."
Kirk's son then noted: "There is no due process, no chance of seeing evidence in front of me from my accuser. It worries me. I’m grateful to have the support of my wife and my kids who’ve had to share this with me. It has been a complete nightmare.” He added, “My reasons are personal in coming forward. But I’m going to continue the way I’ve always treated women, as equals and my peers. Working closely with them.”