NOTE: This article contains disturbing and sexually explicit language. Please read at your own discretion.
Academy Award-winning actor Michael Douglas was accused of sexually harassing a former employee on Friday.
Susan Braudy, a well-known journalist and author who used to be employed by Douglas, came forward with stories about the actor to The Hollywood Reporter, saying he continually sexually harassed her — using sexually explicit language and commenting about her body — and once masturbated in front of her during the ’80s. She also accused him of blackballing her from the industry.
“I think he just thought he was so powerful he thought he could do anything,” said Braudy, 76, on the Today show. “He would repeat things that he said to [fellow actor] Jack Nicholson, who he loved to talk to on the phone about such things as the 50 slang words for his private parts.”
Her Today appearance was her first on-camera interview about the alleged abuse.
“This is a complete lie, fabrication, no truth in it whatsoever,” he said, apologizing for using “colourful” language. “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. As to colourful language, she may have overheard private conversations, and if she was offended, she could have excused herself.”
“I pride myself on my reputation in this business, not to mention the long history of my father and everything else,” he continued. “I don’t have skeletons in my closet, or anyone else who’s coming out or saying this. I’m bewildered why, after 32 years, this is coming out, now. I can’t believe that someone would cause someone else pain like this. Maybe she is disgruntled that her career didn’t go the way she hoped and she is holding this grudge.”
Braudy alleged that his sexual harassment escalated until a meeting with Douglas in his New York City apartment in 1989, when things reached a breaking point, of sorts.
She claimed that Douglas “unbuckled his belt and put his hand inside his trousers.”
“I could see what he was doing… and then he began to sort of began to fondle himself,” she continued, saying she felt “very uncomfortable.”
She said she “panicked” and “ran for the door.” She finished working for him later that year and said they were never alone in a room together again.
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While Braudy admitted that she told several friends about the alleged incident, she said she didn’t go to the police at the time because she “didn’t think he’d broken the law.” At the time, Douglas was also at the pinnacle of his career, having completed Fatal Attraction and Wall Street a mere two years earlier.
Douglas said last week that there is no evidence against him, and scoffed at accusations that Braudy was blackballed in the business.
“I never blackballed her,” he said. “If people from the industry called me to ask about her, I would have been honest, but I never blackballed her.”
Douglas said that he caught wind of the allegations when Variety and The Hollywood Reporter contacted his lawyer seeking comment “right before the holidays.”
None of these allegations have been proven in court and Douglas has not been charged with any crime.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.