About a week ago, Michael Douglas came forward to preemptively deny a sexual misconduct allegation against him. In doing so, he gave an extensive interview with Deadline after he’d been contacted by both Hollywood Reporter and Variety about a former female employee who accused him of masturbating in front of her three decades ago. Douglas vehemently insisted that the story was false (other than a claim about his use of colorful language) and that he wouldn’t wait “to be the villain in a narrative.” He wanted to “get ahead of this” because he was upset at how this was affecting his family.
Now the accuser, Susan Braudy (who previously ran the New York office of Douglas’ production company), has finally come forward in a piece from the Hollywood Reporter, which was penned by the publication’s editorial director. The report (containing portions of Braudy’s written statement) contains the predicted claim of colorful language and a graphic allegation of Douglas masturbating to completion in front of her during a 1989 business meeting:
At script meetings in his apartment, “Michael was usually barefoot, his blue oxford shirt unbuttoned to his navel,” she writes. “I sat across the room on the yellow silk couch taking notes.” Then one afternoon in early 1989, as they brainstormed an idea about an E.T.-like character, she recalls him sliding down the back of his chair and onto the floor. “Michael unzipped his chinos and I registered something amiss. Still complimenting my additions to our E.T. imitation, his voice lowered at least half an octave. 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.”
Braudy claims that she bolted for the door after realizing what had happened. She says that Douglas chased her to the elevator while zipping his pants and telling her, “Hey, thank you, you’re good. You helped me, thank you, thank you.”
The Hollywood Reporter‘s piece folds the allegations into a discussion about media responsibility amid the #MeToo movement. This, of course, was an obligatory discussion after Deadline prefaced their Douglas interview with some editorializing on the matter. However, the Hollywood Reporter states that they heavily vetted Braudy’s story and decided to report her accusations:
In Susan Braudy’s case, she provided a detailed written account of her experience with Douglas based on notes and files she kept, a timeline of her employment (including pay stubs), and three people she told of her experience who were willing to back her publicly, including two well-known authors. She also has a 1993 letter from the California Women’s Law Center showing she inquired about remedies for sexual harassment in the workplace (read it here), though she says she was too intimidated to follow through with a complaint.
During Douglas’ interview, he suggested that Braudy had held a grudge against him and may have been “disgruntled” over her career. While writing to the Hollywood Reporter, Braudy does reveal that she was let go from her job later in 1989, after Douglas presented her with a confidentiality agreement (that she did not sign). At that moment, she “knew Michael was preparing to fire me.”
“I was told in the immediate aftermath — that day or the next,” says Wolff in an email. “We have discussed the incident many, many times since, as well as Douglas’ relentless, goading, mocking and belittling sexual behavior.” Wolff describes Braudy’s state of mind in the aftermath of the alleged incident as “shaken, bewildered, frightened, angry.”
The full report is extensive, and you can read it here.