CNN Fires Back At Morgan Freeman Demand For Retraction, Stands By Report; His Lawyer Responds – Update

UPDATED, 12:20 PM: The back-and-forth continues between Morgan Freeman and CNN over the news org’s expose about him. Here is the actor’s attorney Robert Schwartz’s response to CNN’s latest statement:

“We presented CNN with objective evidence, including videotapes and on-the-record denials by the claimed “victims,” that the alleged incident that gave rise to the story never happened. We proved to CNN, beyond any doubt, that the whole story was built on fakery. The credibility of the entire CNN attack on Mr. Freeman has now been undermined. And in choosing to ignore all of the evidence that we presented, CNN has confirmed our concerns about its reporters, its lack of oversight, and its gross misconduct in unjustifiably attacking Mr. Freeman.”

PREVIOUSLY, 9:18 AM: CNN has rebutted Morgan Freeman’s demand for a retraction, saying it stands by its report that multiple women accuse him of harassing them or behaving inappropriately on set, while promoting his movies, and at his production company.

“The unfounded accusations made by Mr. Freeman’s lawyer are disappointing and are difficult to reconcile with Mr. Freeman’s own public statements in the aftermath of the story,” the cable nws network said in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon.

“CNN stands by its reporting and will respond forcefully to any attempt by Mr. Freeman or his representatives to intimidate us from covering this important public issue,” the network added.

Hours earlier, Robert M. Schwartz of Irell & Manella, has emailed a 10-page letter to CNN chief Jeff Zucker, implying that this might become a lawsuit.

In its report, published last week, the cable news organization said eight women have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior. CNN interviewed 16 people for its report, including some who said they witnessed the behavior.

One production assistant said she was subjected to unwanted touching and comments about her figure and clothing on a nearly daily basis, including one incident in which the 80-year-old actor allegedly “kept trying to lift up my skirt” while inquiring if she was wearing underwear.

Freeman, who has lost endorsements and has said he is devastated by the accusations, initially apologized and but then clarified. In his letter to Zucker, Schwartz wrote, “It has been said that ‘A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on.’ In just the few days since CNN published the article on Mr. Freeman, it has traveled all the way around the world and back, millions of times. If CNN has any decency, or any allegiance to journalistic integrity, it will immediate retract the article and issue a public apology to Mr. Freeman.”

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