Sigh. At this point it’s easier to assume literally everybody in Hollywood is a scumbag until we hear positive confirmation otherwise. Today’s lurid allegations are laid at the doorstep of Michael Douglas.
Former employee Susan Braudy alleges that in the late 1980s, while she was running the New York office of his Stonebridge Productions company, she suffered “sexual harassment by Douglas that included near-constant profane and sexually charged dialogue, demeaning comments about her appearance, graphic discussions regarding his mistresses and more.”
Braudy goes on to recount an incident where, at a 1989 meeting in Douglas’ apartment, the actor masturbated in front of her:
“Michael unzipped his chinos and I registered something amiss.“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.”
Her reaction is sadly familiar to anyone following these kinds of cases:
“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.”
She offers as corroboration of the incident three witnesses that she told the story to at the time, one of which is current political darling Michael Wolff, whose Fire and Fury has rocked the Trump White House. Either way, following this incident, Braudy’s relationship with Douglas deteriorated until, six months later, she was fired.
Douglas denies the story, saying: “I’m bewildered why, after 32 years, this is coming out, now. I’m certainly regretful if she was offended by the language in the ’80s. Finally, masturbating in front of her? I don’t know where to begin. This is a complete lie, fabrication, no truth to it whatsoever.” Pressed on why she’s coming forwards now, he theorizes “maybe she is disgruntled her career didn’t go the way she hoped and she is holding this grudge. It has caused tremendous stress to me for something I believe I have nothing to regret or feel responsible for.”
I’ll leave the final word to Braudy, who had Michael Douglas‘ denial put to her by THR:
“I believe this is part of the problem, as is his pretext of victimization. These are some reasons why so many women don’t come forward with their stories — Lord knows it’s taken 30 years and a movement for me to gather my courage.”