Two-time Oscar-winner Michael Douglas issued a pre-emptive denial that he masturbated in front of a female staffer 30 years ago, Deadline reports.
According to Douglas, over the holidays he was contacted by a news outlet preparing to publish accusations that he used foul language and masturbated in front of one of his female development directors some thirty years ago. Douglas admitted to using swear words but pointed out that he is not accused of swearing at her, but rather in front of her when speaking on the phone to others.
Douglas further claims that he is not being accused of any kind of sexual harassment or misconduct, other than the masturbation allegation, which he completely denies.
“Finally, masturbating in front of her? I don’t know where to begin,” Douglas told Deadline, adding, “This is a complete lie, fabrication, no truth to it whatsoever.
“The reporter told me, ‘she did say that you never harassed her, never touched her,’ and I said…okay. So I didn’t know where this comes from,” Douglas explained.
The unnamed accuser also alleges that Douglas blackballed her after firing her. Douglas admits he fired her for poor job performance but that he never blackballed her.
As far as his decision to get in front of the coming story, Douglas said:
I had the choice of waiting for a story to come out, one that will clearly get picked up by other newspapers and magazines, and then I have to sit there and try to 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 coarse 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.
The 73-year-old Douglas has been a fixture in Hollywood for some 50 years. In 1976, he won a Best Picture Oscar for producing One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. In 1988, he won a Best Actor Oscar for his iconic work as Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street.
While Douglas has dealt with some personal scandals in the past, including a reported stint in sex rehab therapy, this is the first allegation of any kind of harassment or misconduct.
Douglas is the 109th person in the left-wing entertainment business accused of sexual misconduct.