Michael Douglas has spoken out to deny a claim of improper sexual conduct, before it has even been made public.
The Hollywood star said he “felt the need to get ahead” of the situation and to share his “concerns” before a story was published.
He said a former employee was accusing him of performing a sex act in front of her more than 30 years ago.
Douglas told Deadline: “This is a complete lie, fabrication, no truth to it whatsoever.”
He said his lawyer contacted him in December, telling him a media outlet was planning to run a story about the woman’s claims.
Douglas said the woman was also alleging he “blackballed” her so she couldn’t get another job after he fired her, that he used “colourful language” in front of her and “spoke raunchily” in private conversations with his friends on the phone.
‘No skeletons in closet’
“It’s extremely painful,” said Douglas, describing the situation as a “nightmare”.
“I pride myself on my reputation in this business, not to mention the long history of my father and everything else. 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.”
He said he “had the choice of waiting for a story to come out” and trying to defend himself, or to “share with the public, a little ahead of the story, my thoughts and concerns”.
The woman is a writer but hasn’t been identified. Douglas told Deadline: “I’ve worked with women my entire life. It has never been an issue.”
He said there was no evidence against him, adding: “I can only imagine this has come up to hurt someone, or to benefit someone in a book deal so they can write a chapter on me.”
‘Hurt and offended’
He added: “I support the #metoo movement with all my heart. I have always supported women, along the way.” But he warned: “This is the kind of step that can set that movement back.
“Being accused, without a chance [to defend yourself] in court. To not even really have the information in front of you, to be able to argue or defend yourself. There is no due process, no chance of seeing evidence in front of me from my accuser. It worries me.”
He said he had the support of his family and the film studios he’s currently working with, but admitted he was “fearful”.
“I’m hurt, really hurt and offended and I wonder if people realise when you do something like this, it hurts a lot more than just one person,” he added.
Douglas’ wife Catherine Zeta-Jones and his father Kirk Douglas appeared on stage at the Golden Globes. His 101-year-old father received a standing ovation at Sunday’s ceremony. Douglas himself was not present.