Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

Following up on the short statement he made after CNN released a story Thursday in which eight women who had all worked with Morgan Freeman in some capacity accused the acting legend of sexual harassment, Freeman has released a longer statement apologizing for what he characterizes as “jok[ing] with and compliment[ing] women.”

He adds that he has never assaulted anyone, and basically that his behavior wasn’t so bad in comparison to that criminal act. “It is not right to equate horrific incidents of sexual assault with misplaced compliments or humor,” he writes. Of course, humor is always subjective, and the PA on Freeman’s film Going In Style who says that Freeman repeatedly lifted up her skirt and asked if she was wearing underwear, as well as the employees of his production company Revelations Entertainment who formed what they called a “survivors club” to talk about how Freeman’s “creepy uncle” behavior at the office made them uncomfortable, clearly do not think his jokes were very funny.

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The statement was released last night via New York Times culture writer and stand-up comedian Sopan Deb—whose coverage of the allegations includes an interview with CNN’s Chloe Melas about the six-month investigation that led to Thursday’s story—who posted it on his Twitter:

Freeman’s new statement comes as fallout from CNN’s story has begun to threaten him financially, as the city of Vancouver has put on hold its recent announcement that he would serve as the voice of its transit system, and Visa has pulled a series of advertisements featuring the actor. In a statement, Visa says, “We are aware of the allegations that have been made against Mr. Freeman. At this point, Visa will be suspending our marketing in which the actor is featured.”

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