These days, a lot of celebrities have come forward to vehemently deny allegations of sexual misconduct, but few have done so before the allegations have even come out. That’s what Michael Douglas is doing, though, in attempt to get ahead of a story about him allegedly masturbating in front of a former employee. Speaking with Deadline, Douglas says someone from The Hollywood Reporter contacted his attorney before the holidays and said that a woman had come forward with stories about him using “colorful language” in front of her, talking “raunchily” with his friends in private conversations, masturbating in front of her, and then blackballing her in the industry after he had fired her.
He denied the masturbation accusation, but when the reporter said the accuser was offering the story to other outlets, they said they were going to go ahead and publish the accusations. So, before anyone could do that, Douglas contacted Deadline to respond to the claims. He says he’s sorry for using “coarse language” around the accuser, though he does note that he only did so around his friends and that this woman “could’ve excused herself” if she was offended, and he says the story about him masturbating in front of her is “a complete lie” with “no truth to it whatsoever.” The accuser did confirm to the reporter that Douglas had “never harassed her” and “never touched her,” but she does have multiple friends who corroborate her story.
As for the blackballing accusation, Douglas also says that is “completely untrue.” He says she worked in development at his company in the ‘80s, and they “didn’t have a good development record in the time she was there,” so he “moved on.” He implies that he may have said negative things about her work to other people in the industry, but he maintains that he fired her because of “the work she was doing.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Douglas tries to offer up proof that he’s a dedicated feminist and supporter of the #MeToo movement, noting that he frequently works with woman and has always treated them as equals. He also believes that there will be no other evidence to support the accuser’s story, and that no other accusers will come forward with similar allegations. He thinks the only reason this is coming up now is to help the accuser sell a book, which he says “hurts people who are supportive of this movement and who believe in it.” He also claims that if this woman had come to him privately he would’ve addressed her concerns, but he seems particularly frustrated that she went “directly to the newspapers or whatever you want to call them.”