Ex-employee accuses Michael Douglas of sexual harassment
Los Angeles (AFP)
A former employee of Michael Douglas has accused the Hollywood megastar of sexual harassment and misconduct in her presence, charges the Oscar-winning actor has vehemently denied.
Douglas is the latest big-name personality accused of seamy behavior since allegations of sexual wrongdoings led to the downfall of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein in 2017.
Douglas "thought he was the king of the world and that he could humiliate me without any repercussion," writer Susan Braudy said in an interview with NBC News.
Braudy has accused the star of using sexually charged language and commenting on her body during the three years she worked at the actor's New York office of Stonebridge Productions in the 1980s.
Braudy said that the actor's abusive behavior culminated in 1989 during a work session in his apartment at the height of his career, after he starred in hit movies including "Wall Street" and "Fatal Attraction."
Douglas "slid down the floor, unbuckled his belt and put his hand inside his trousers and I could see what he was doing," Braudy told NBC.
She said he then "sort of began to fondle himself, and I was very scared."
- A "disgruntled" employee? -
Braudy, the author of two non-fiction books, said that she told several friends about the incident -- and they urged her to stay quiet.
"One of my friends said you better not tell people about him. People were frightened for me," she told NBC.
Douglas got ahead of the allegations before they appeared in public, describing them to The Hollywood Reporter as "an unfortunate and complete fabrication."
The actor then told celebrity website Deadline in a January 9 interview: "I can't believe that someone would cause someone else pain like this."
"Maybe she is disgruntled her career didn't go the way she hoped and she is holding this grudge," he said.
Douglas said that Braudy had never complained -- something she denied, even though she acknowledged never reporting the behavior to the police because she said she did not realize at the time that it could be considered criminal behavior.
Douglas, now 73, won an Oscar in the Best Actor category for his role as unscrupulous trader Gordon Gekko in "Wall Street." He earlier won an Oscar in 1976 for his performance in "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest."
More recently, Douglas's role as flamboyant pianist and singer Liberace in the 2013 HBO movie "Behind the Candelabra" earned him a Golden Globe.
Separately, the Producers Guild of America (PGA) on Friday published guidelines to prevent sexual harassment cases in the movie industry.
"As producers, we provide key leadership in creating and sustaining work environments built on mutual respect, so it is our obligation to change our culture and eradicate this abuse," the PGA said in guidelines that went out to its 8,200 members.
© 2018 AFP