The recent flood of sexual misconduct allegations has resulted in serious repercussions for Hollywood figures. While some of the alleged perpetrators have lost their jobs or have become subjects of criminal investigations, most have, at the very least, received a wave of inescapable backlash.
Michael Douglas didn’t want this to happen to him.
Earlier this month, the 73-year-old actor preemptively denied sexual misconduct allegations after he received word that a former employee was accusing him of masturbating in front of her nearly three decades ago. Before the allegations were reported, Douglas gave an exclusive interview with Deadline, in which he attempted to defend his name.
Douglas’ accuser, Susan Braudy, has now shared her story with The Hollywood Reporter.
Braudy is a journalist and author who began working for Douglas’ production company, Stonebridge Productions, a couple of decades ago. She submitted a handwritten letter to THR, detailing several disturbing encounters she had with Douglas over the years; one of which occurred in 1989 during business meeting.
At script meetings in his apartment, "Michael was usually barefoot, his blue oxford shirt unbuttoned to his navel," she writes. "I sat across the room on the yellow silk couch taking notes." Then one afternoon in early 1989, as they brainstormed an idea about an E.T.-like character, she recalls him sliding down the back of his chair and onto the floor. "Michael unzipped his chinos and I registered something amiss. Still complimenting my additions to our E.T. imitation, his voice lowered at least half an octave. I peered at him and saw he'd inserted both hands into his unzipped pants. I realized to my horror that he was rubbing his private parts. Within seconds his voice cracked and it appeared to me he'd had an orgasm."
Braudy writes that she closed her notebook and rushed for the door: "I said nothing. I was surprised I wasn't falling to pieces even though I was humiliated. I realized he thought he could do anything he wanted because he was so much more powerful than I was. Michael ran barefoot after me to the elevator, zipping his fly and buckling his belt. 'Hey, thank you, you're good. You helped me, thank you, thank you.'"
Braudy said that her working relationship with Douglas went south after the alleged incident. She claims that as soon as Douglas asked her to sign a confidentiality agreement, she knew she was going to get fired.
"'Don't sign,' my lawyer Leon Friedman said. 'Keep saying your lawyer is out of town.' So Michael waited six months for my lawyer 'to return.'" She was let go in late 1989. Unlike most employees in a position like hers, she says she never did sign a confidentiality agreement.
In the story, THR made sure to emphasize their vetting process. The writer explains Braudy provided the publication with paystubs, notes and files, three sources who were willing to support her story publicly, as well as a letter from the California Women's Law Center, which she contacted in 1993 in regards to sexual harassment in the workplace.
THR spoke to Douglas and his team off the record. They also took a statement from Douglas in which he continued to deny Braudy’s claims:
"This individual is an industry veteran, a senior executive, a published novelist and an established member of the women's movement — someone with a strong voice now, as well as when she worked at my company more than three decades ago. At no time then did she express or display even the slightest feeling of discomfort working in our environment, or with me personally. That is because at no time, and under no circumstance, did I behave inappropriately toward her."
You can read the full story here.