Film and TV producer Lori McCreary, Morgan Freeman’s longtime business partner, has been accused of making discriminatory remarks about a female job candidate and female employees with families in a CNN report about several allegations of harassment and inappropriate behavior by Freeman. One of the women accusing Freeman of harassment said McCreary witnessed his behavior.
McCreary, 57, founded Revelations Entertainment with Freeman and she is also the president of the Producers Guild of America. McCreary has not commented about the allegations made in the CNN report, which was published Thursday morning. McCreary and Freeman’s company produces the CBS series “Madam Secretary” and the National Geographic shows “The Story of Us With Morgan Freeman” and “the Story of God With Morgan Freeman.” They have also co-produced several films, including “Invictus,” “Mutiny,” “10 Items or Less” and “The Magic of Belle Isle.”
Eight women, including the co-author of the report, Chloe Melas, told CNN that they were the victims of harassment or inappropriate behavior by Freeman. Eight other people told CNN they witnessed his behavior. “These 16 people together described a pattern of inappropriate behavior by Freeman on set, while promoting his movies and at his production company Revelations Entertainment,” CNN reports. The women told CNN that they were made to feel uncomfortable at work. Two women said they were subjected to unwanted touching, including a time when he tried to lift up the skirt of one of the women. They told CNN they did not come forward because they feared for their jobs. You can read the full report here.
In a statement, Freeman said, “Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy. I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected – that was never my intent.”
Here’s what you need to know about Lori McCreary:
1. McCreary Said a Job Candidate Wouldn’t Be Able to Do a ‘Good Job’ Because of Her Family & Mocked Women Who Would ‘Run Home’ to Their Families, Former Employees Say
In addition to the accusations of harassment and inappropriate behavior toward women by Morgan Freeman, those who spoke to CNN also described actions by Lori McCreary that made the workplace uncomfortable for female employees, especially those with families.
A former employee at Revelations told CNN that during a phone call with a member of the Producers Guild of America, the organization McCreary is co-president of, McCreary said about a job candidate, “she’ll never be able to do a good job, she has a family.”
Two other senior-level Revelations employees told CNN that McCreary openly mocked women who had to leave work for family commitments and school functions and said some employees couldn’t handle big workloads because they would “run home” to their families and not stay at the office late. McCreary would publicly advocate for a work-life balance, but then make “snide” remarks when women left work early, according to the sources who talked to CNN.
In a statement to CNN, the Producers Guild of America said, “The Producers Guild of America is an Equal Opportunity Employer that does not question or consider marital or parental status in its hiring practices. As soon as CNN notified us about the allegation, we investigated the matter and have found that it has no merit. Lori McCreary is an outstanding PGA President. In all of her work with the Guild, she has been a consistent, vocal, and proactive advocate for women and all who are underrepresented in our community.”
2. She Has Been Supportive of the #MeToo & ‘Time’s Up’ Movements in Her Role as President of the Producers Guild of America
Lori McCreary has been supportive of the #MeToo and “Time’s Up” movements in her role as president of the Producers Guild of America. McCreary, along with co-president Gary Lucchesi, banned Harvey Weinstein for life from the organization and created a formal set of guidelines and best practices regarding sexual harassment. McCreary and Lucchesi have led the PGA since 2014.
“We put together a task force with a great diversity of members from the studio world the indie world, television, and streamers,” McCreary told Variety in January 2018. “We tried to get a cross-section of producers. The thing I found very heartening was that we called on some of the busiest producers in the business and every single person on our list said yes.”
McCreary added, “We were already heads down on something that will help this issue in the long run — diversity and gender parity. Ultimately, more gender parity and racial diversity will help the underlying cultural issues we faced here. As producers, usually the buck stops with us. We have the power. We have to take responsibility.”
In October 2017, while speaking at the Produced By NY conference, McCreary said, “We all, as producers, have to stop and do something a little different. Once our film crews look more like our audience, our industry is going to be better for it. We’re going to know how to treat each other. We’re not going to let these kind of things to perpetuate for another 30 years.”
3. She Has Worked With Freeman Since 1993 & He Admitted to Being ‘Sexist, but Not Misogynistic’ After Making a Joke About a Short Dress She Wore to Their First Meeting
Lori McCreary has worked with Morgan Freeman since 1993, when she produced her first movie, adapting the play “Bopha!” with Freeman as her director. In 1996, the pair co-founded Revelations Entertainment with a mission to produce content “that reveals truth.” Freeman has said he started Revelation with McCreary because he was frustrated by the lack of choice of roles for black actors.
“While working on ‘Bopha!’ we realized that, any time there was a creative discussion, we were always arguing from the same side. And any time there was a financial discussion, we argued from the same side,” McCreary told the San Jose Mercury News in 2017. “Morgan is a man without guile. He’s a man of his word, and his integrity bar is set very high. We’ve been together for 20 years. It’s one of the longest-lasting partnerships in Hollywood.”
In 2016, McCreary was herself the target of comments by Freeman that were viewed as inappropriate. While speaking at a Produced By Conference panel in front of 400 people, Freeman recalled his first meeting with McCreary and said, “she had on a dress cut to here,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Moderator and producer Mark Gordon cut in, saying, “He’s not a pig, I promise. … Maybe he is.”
Freeman continued, “She doesn’t want to be thought of as a pretty face. She wants to be thought of as serious. But you can’t get away from the short dresses.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, McCreary did not visibly react. Freeman later said that he was telling a joke when asked about the moment by Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s “Today” show. Freeman told Guthrie, “It was just something I said in jest about when I first met her, it was more than 20 years ago. How is that news?”
A former Revelations executive told CNN that McCreary was upset when she returned to the office. “I tried to console her and she was clearly upset and I think she was surprised and found it hurtful and embarrassing. She was devastated.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Freeman said at the panel his comments were “sexist … but I’m not misogynistic.” He called McCreary a “good person” and a “workaholic” who have a “great relationship.” McCreary said during the panel that she would use the words “trustworthy” and “integrity” to describe Freeman. Freeman also said during the panel “women have never been the weaker sex,” and said at the office, McCreary is “the boss.”
4. McCreary, a California Native, Graduated From UCLA With a Computer Science Degree
McCreary, who is not married, grew up in Antioch, California, and went to UCLA, graduating in 1984 with a degree in computer science, according to Variety. She started theater acting at 8 and dreamed of one day opening a theater. In 2002 she talked to Luke Ford about her upbringing and how she got into producing:
I grew up in the small town of Antioch in northern California. It was a blue-collar town with not a lot to do. My mother was a homemaker and an actress. She [Sharon Rich] gave up her career when she started having a family. She was in the women’s version of Sea Hunt in the late 1950s. My father worked at DuPont for many years and then became a real estate broker. I have two younger siblings. My sister is not in the industry and my brother R. Dean McCreary is an aspiring actor and writer. We’ve just optioned one of his screenplays.
When I was 14, Antioch got a large grant to build a state of the art theater. We had a computerized state of the art lighting board. I went back to Chicago to learn how to run it. Opening night, the computer didn’t turn on and I had to run the show manually, which was not fun. I decided to study computers. I graduated from UCLA in 1984 with a degree in Computer Science. There were maybe four women in the program. And there was no one who was also in theater.
I’ve always wanted to be in theater. I didn’t have a connection to the movie world until 1985 when I saw the play Bopha, which I thought should be seen by more people.
While at UCLA, McCreary founded a software company called CompuLaw, which helped lawyers bill more effectively. The company was successful and she later sold it, according to Variety. She told Ford, “While in college, I co-founded a software company, Compulaw. We wrote software for lawyers. I was a programmer for years. I had a nice career going but I was bored.”
5. McCreary Has Said Her ‘Heart & Soul’ Is in Social Justice & She Wants to Tell Stories That Are Never Heard
Lori McCreary has said her goal as a producer and in her role running Revelations Entertainment is to tell stories that aren’t usually heard.
“We’re committed to stories that haven’t been told or haven’t been told from a particular point of view. So we started talking about the company name and Morgan said, ‘We should do stories that are revealing something about the truth about a situation or about people or about a different way of life that we haven’t seen before.’ So that’s pretty much the lens that we’ve stuck with for about 25 years,” she told The Hollywood Reporter in January 2018. “And Morgan is extremely loyal, not only with his team but with projects. We both are interested in looking at diverse storytelling, and we’ve had projects on our slate for 20 years that we’ve gotten calls about in the last year, saying, ‘Do you have this project about Bass Reeves?’ [Reeves was the first black U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi.] Some of these projects are just now coming into their time to be told.”
During a March 2018 interview by the National Academy of Engineering, McCreary was asked if the overarching theme of Revelations films and shows was social justice. She replied, “I’ve never thought of it that way, but that is completely where my heart and soul are.”
She added, “We often get stories that have been told before, but if it’s a well-known story we look for a new take or a new perspective. For example, you could have made an argument that Nelson Mandela’s story had been told many times and quite well. We looked for another ‘in’ to his story that might reveal or highlight something a little different, which happened to be about the South African rugby team. And we are always looking for stories that we’ve never heard of. There are so many, especially American stories. I wish I had made Hidden Figures. There are so many amazing stories out there that you can’t believe no one has told them 100 times already.”