Sexual politics made a surprising appearance Saturday in a panel discussion before an audience of 400 people between Morgan Freeman and his producing partner Lori McCreary, a former tech entrepreneur who is CEO and co-founder with Freeman of Revelations Entertainment.
Recalling their first meeting, Freeman said "she had on a dress cut to here."
"He's not a pig, I promise," interjected moderator and producer Mark Gordon at the Produced By conference session, before adding, "maybe he is."
Freeman, 79, who was in the news this week for kissing actress Marcia Gay Harden on the lips at a CBS event Thursday, returned to the topic of McCreary's appearance just moments later.
"She doesn't want to be thought of as a pretty face," said Freeman of McCreary. "She wants to be thought of as serious. But you can't get away from the short dresses."
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McCreary, who also serves as president of the Producers Guild, did not visibly react to the comment as she sat next to Freeman. But Gordon remarked that the actor's comments could be construed as sexist and misogynistic.
"Sexist? Yeah," said Freeman, "but I'm not misogynistic." He praised McCreary as a "good person" and "a workaholic." The trust and admiration between the partners was evident and mutual, with Freeman saying they have "a great relationship" and McCreary using the words "trustworthy" and "integrity" to describe Freeman.
Their company's name references both the New Testament and a corporate mission to "reveal truths" of people of color not always seen on screen, and the 20-year partnership has produced such successes as Invictus, in which Freeman portrayed Nelson Mandela, the science show Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman and the CBS series Madame Secretary, which the partners conceived as they thought about recent female Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright.
Women "have never been the weaker sex," said Freeman.
"You're the king at the office," responded Gordon. "But not at home."
"She's the boss," replied Freeman, referring to McCreary, who runs Revelations on a day to day basis.
The session ranged across topics, from tech – McCreary, a co-founder of software outfit CompuLaw, is a Netflix fan – to Freeman's serious neurologic injury ("the only time my hand doesn't hurt is between 'action' and 'cut,'" he said) to the difficulty even such star actor/producers as Clint Eastwood have in getting movies made.
But the conversation took yet another unusual turn as the three panelists opined that women may make better producers than men.
"I think inherently – I might be sexist – my construct is family, bringing people together," said McCreary. "I'm not saying men aren't that way."
"Women have less testosterone," offered Gordon.
"It's always about the pissing contest" for men, said Freeman.
This prompted Gordon to remark "there's something we have in common. Morgan and I both like to sit down when we pee." Freeman agreed.
Added Gordon, "we all work hard. If you can sit down when you have a chance, do."
Updated 6/4/2016 8:11 with additional details about the session