Michael Douglas accused of sexual harassment by former employee

Actor Michael Douglas arriving for the Chaplin Awards in New York, May 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (WASHINGTON POST) - Writer Susan Braudy has publicly accused Michael Douglas of sexual harassment, just days after the actor pre-emptively spoke in his own defence.

"He thought he was the king of the world, and that he could humiliate me without any repercussions," Braudy told Kate Snow of NBC News in an interview that aired on Friday morning (Jan 19).

Braudy worked for Douglas in the 1980s, a decade in which the actor starred in Fatal Attraction and won an Oscar for his performance in Wall Street.

She primarily worked out of the actor's living room to read scripts and hire screenwriters, according to personal notes detailed in a piece published on Thursday by the Hollywood Reporter.

Douglas used crude language in one-on-one meetings with Braudy, she said, and would comment on her body.

"I began wearing long, loose layers of black," Braudy wrote in the notes. "He asked a producer, 'Why does Susan dress like a pregnant nun?' Another time I laughed loudly and he shouted to a group of agents, 'Oh yeah, she's a screamer! I bet she screams in the sack'."

In 1989, Braudy told Snow, Douglas' behaviour escalated during a one-on-one script meeting in his apartment.

"He slid down to the floor, unbuckled his belt and put his hand inside his trousers," Braudy said. "And I could see what he was doing. And then he began to sort of fondle himself, and I was very scared."

Douglas declined a request for comment from NBC News but told the Hollywood Reporter that Braudy's story was "an unfortunate and complete fabrication".

The actor has defended himself before. In an interview with Deadline published Jan 9, two days after his father, Kirk Douglas, and wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, took the stage at the Golden Globes, Douglas said he "felt the need to get ahead of this".

He recalled using "colourful language" in Braudy's presence but denied that it was ever aimed at her. He also referred to the 1989 incident as "a complete lie, fabrication, no truth to it whatsoever".

"I pride myself on my reputation in this business, not to mention the long history of my father and everything else," Douglas said. "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."

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