Michael Douglas said he “felt the need to get ahead of” an impending story that would have accused the veteran actor of sexual harassment over three decades ago.
The actor spoke to Deadline and went on the record about an unnamed woman who he alleged has been trying to speak to The Hollywood Reporter to accuse him of misconduct.
“Right before the holidays in December … I got a message from my attorney that [THR] wanted to do a story about an employee that worked for me approximately 32 years ago,” he said. “She claims that, One, I used colorful language in front of her, not at her … 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. I fired her eventually, for the work she was doing, but Three, she claims that I blackballed her from the industry and stopped her from getting another job.”
Douglas, 73, continued that there was a fourth claim “that I masturbated in front of her.”
When asked if he had comment, Douglas says he offered to speak to the reporter on the piece.
“I remembered this woman,” he said. “My head was reeling. I just couldn’t put this together. I’ve had no contact with her, in thirty-plus years.”
“I talked to the reporter and said, ‘Listen, as far as using colorful language in front her, I apologize,'” Douglas continued. “‘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.'”
As for the alleged raunchy conversations, Douglas said those were private and with friends, and that the woman could have just excused herself from the situation.
“As far as blackballing her, that was completely untrue,” he added. “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. I never blackballed her.”
His most significant denial came regarding the fourth claim that he masturbated in front of her.
“This is a complete lie, fabrication, no truth to it whatsoever,” Douglas said, adding that the THR reporter told him, “She did say that you never harassed her, never touched her.”
Douglas claims the reporter decided to sit on the story until after the holidays, but when the magazine heard she was looking to give her story elsewhere, it moved to publish.
The woman’s story has not been published. A spokesperson for The Hollywood Reporter told ABC News that the publication does not comment on stories on which they may or may not be working.
“I was floored. I didn’t know what to say and I tried to digest it,” he added. “I pride myself on being so supportive of the women’s