Following a series of allegations against actor Morgan Freeman, Visa announced late Thursday that is suspending its current marketing campaign featuring Freeman as its spokesperson.
The allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct were revealed on Wednesday after the airing of the details of an investigation by news media company CNN.
The Visa commercials were used in partnership with the Vancouver public transit system Translink, which used Freeman’s distinctive voice to market the transit system’s mobile payment option. Translink said that it would reach out to Visa to discuss how to proceed going forward. The 80-year-old Freeman has made a name for himself with his iconic voice-over work, including his award-winning work as a narrator for feature films.
The explosive report featured the testimony of 16 people, of which half stated that they were victims of Freeman’s harassment and behavior over a period of many years. The other half were witnesses of Freeman’s conduct. The inappropriate actions of the legendary actor and producers took place on set at his personal movie production company, Revelations Entertainment, as well as in other venues including press events.
One of the most damning revelations came from CNN entertainment reporter, Chloe Melas, who stated that Freeman repeatedly made her feel uncomfortable with inappropriate staring and sexual comments. Some of these moments were caught on camera and used as part of the investigation.
The investigators were quick to point out that some of the people they reached out to regarding Freeman said that he was always a gentleman and a consummate professional, both on set and off.
Visa is not the only organization getting cold feet about Freeman in light of this report. Also on Thursday, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) announced that it is investigating the allegations and is in the process of deciding if any action will be taken against Freeman, who recently received the prestigious SAG Lifetime Achievement Award.
Following the release of the report, Freeman issued an apology for any uneasiness or discomfort he might have caused anyone.