Michael Douglas denies sexual harassment story before it potentially breaks

Michael Douglas is speaking out against a potential story he says he's been contacted about by multiple media outlets, involving a former employee's claim that Douglas sexually harassed her over 30 years ago.

In an interview with Deadline, the 73-year-old actor vehemently denies the most serious claim, that he once masturbated in front of her. According to Douglas, other allegations from the woman include using colorful language in front her, speaking raunchily with his friends on the phone in front of her and blackballing her from the industry.  Douglas says he got a message from his attorney before the holidays that The Hollywood Reporter wanted to run a story on the woman's claims.

"My head was reeling," Douglas says. "I just couldn’t put this together. I’ve had no contact with her, in thirty-plus years. I talked to the reporter and said, ‘Listen, as far as using colorful language in front her, I apologize. None of it was directed at her; she didn’t say it was. It was my office and that was the tone that I set and as far as conversations with friends.’... As to colorful language, she may have overheard private conversations, and if she was offended, she could have excused herself. As far as blackballing her, that was completely untrue. She was a lady who was involved in development at my company, and we just didn’t have a good development record in the time she was there, so I just moved on. I never blackballed her. ...  Finally, masturbating in front of her? I don’t know where to begin. This is a complete lie, fabrication, no truth to it whatsoever."

See photos of Michael Douglas with wife Catherine Zeta-Jones:

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Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas together
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Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas together
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 01: Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones attend The Actor's Fund Career Transition For Dancers 2017 Jubilee Gala at Marriott Marquis Hotel on November 1, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 01: Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones attend Actors Fund Career Transition For Dancers Gala on November 1, 2017 at The Marriott Marquis in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 03: Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas pose backstage during 'City Winery Presents A Celebration of the Music of Jimmy Webb' at Carnegie Hall on May 3, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Al Pereira/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 22: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones pose backstage at the hit musical 'Sunset Boulevard' on Broadway at The Palace Theater on February 22, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 08: Actor Michael Douglas and actress Catherine Zeta-Jones attend the 15th annual Movies For Grownups Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 8, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Actors Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones attend Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 17: Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones attend Jazz at Lincoln Center's Ertegun Atrium and Ertegun Hall of Fame grand reopening at Jazz at Lincoln Center on December 17, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 03: Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones attend the AARP Movies for Grownups Gala Countdown Lunch with actor/producer Michael Douglas, 2016 Career Achievement Honoree, on December 3, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for AARP)
Actors Catherine Zeta-Jones (hat) and Michael Douglas (R) watch Flavia Pennetta of Italy play against Roberta Vinci of Italy during their 2015 US Open Women's Singles -Finals at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 12, 2015 in New York. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 27: Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones attend NYC Dance Alliance Foundation's 'Bright Lights Shining Stars' Gala at NYU Skirball Center on September 27, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 8: Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas with their children Dylan and Carys as they attend the European Premiere of Marvel's 'Ant-Man' at the Odeon Leicester Square on July 8, 2015 in London, England.(Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 11: Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas attend The 2015 Actors Fund Gala at The New York Marriott Marquis on May 11, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE 40TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL -- Pictured: (l-r) Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones walk the red carpet at the SNL 40th Anniversary Special at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York, NY on February 15, 2015 -- (Photo by: Jamie McCarthy/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 12: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones pose backstage at the hit play 'It's Only a Play' on Broadway at The Jacobs Theater on February 12, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
EAST HAMPTON, NY - JULY 06: Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas attend the 'And So It Goes' premiere at Guild Hall on July 6, 2014 in East Hampton, New York. (Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 29: Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones attend the Phoenix House Public Service Award Dinner at Cipriani 42nd Street on January 29, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Grant Lamos IV/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 05: Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones (L) and actor Michael Douglas attend the 2014 AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Jane Fonda at the Dolby Theatre on June 5, 2014 in Hollywood, California. Tribute show airing Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 9pm ET/PT on TNT. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 05: Actors Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones arrive at the 2014 AFI Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute at Dolby Theatre on June 5, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones attend the 41st Annual Chaplin Award Gala at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City. � LAN (Photo by Lars Niki/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas attends the 14th annual Monte Cristo Award at The Edison Ballroom on April 21, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)
Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta Jones arriving for the 40th Annual Chaplin Award Gala Honoring Barbra Streisand at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City on 4/22/2013... (Photo by Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images)
Actor Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones on the red carpet at the 85th Academy Awards (Oscars) held at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. (Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 31: Actors Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones attend the Open Road, The Cinema Society & Michael Kors premiere of 'Side Effects' at AMC Loews Lincoln Square on January 31, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic)
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Douglas calls the entire situation "extremely painful," and says it has affected his wife, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, as well as his children -- 39-year-old Cameron, 17-year-old Dylan and 14-year-old Carys.

"I pride myself on my reputation in this business, not to mention the long history of my father and everything else," he says, referring to his dad, legendary actor Kirk Douglas. "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. ... The part that hurt the worst is having to share something like this to your wife and your children. My kids are really upset, has to go to school worrying this is going to be in some article about me, being a sexual harasser. They’re scared and very uncomfortable."

Douglas explains why he's speaking out about the allegations, even though the story has not been published.

"I had the choice of waiting for a story to come out, one that will clearly get picked up by other newspapers and magazines, and then I have to sit there and try to defend myself," he shares. "Or, try to share with the public, a little ahead of the story, my thoughts and concerns."

"I’d confess to anything I thought I was responsible for," he continues. "And it was most certainly not masturbating in front of this woman. ...I’m upset. ... I’m fearful, I have jobs going with studios who all seem to be supportive at this time. I’m hurt, really hurt and offended and I wonder if people realize when you do something like this, it hurts a lot more than just one person."

The Oscar-winning actor stresses that he is a supporter of the #MeToo movement, and that unfounded allegations are detrimental to the cause. 

High-profile men who have been accused of sexual misconduct:

73 PHOTOS
High-profile men accused of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct
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High-profile men accused of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct

Movie producer Harvey Weinstein is accused of sexually assaulting or harassing dozens of women, including a number of well-known celebrities, over the past several decades.

(REUTERS/Gus Ruelas)

Matt Lauer was fired from 'Today' after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct that allegedly included giving a co-worker a sex toy and dropping his pants in front of a female employee in his office.

(REUTERS/Mike Segar)

Actor Jeffrey Tambor has been accused of sexual assault by two women from the Amazon series, "Transparent."  

(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

Sen. Al Franken is accused of kissing a groping a woman without her consent during a United Service Organizations (USO) tour in 2006.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Eleven women have come forward accusing President Donald Trump of unwanted touching or kissing. Trump has called the sexual harassment claims 'fake news.'

(Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, (D) Nevada, was accused of making repeated, unwanted propositions for dates and sex to a woman that once worked on his campaign.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Hundreds of women accused longtime Hollywood writer and director James Toback of sexual harassment.

(TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)

Comedian Louis C.K. has been accused of forcing women to watch him masturbate, according to the New York Times.

(Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Director Bret Ratner has been accused of sexual harassment by several women, including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge.

(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Actor Anthony Rapp accused Kevin Spacey of making a sexual advance towards him when he was 14 years old.

(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

Roger Ailes, the former president of Fox News Channel, was accused of sexually harassing former anchor Gretchen Carlson and several other women from the network.

(Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

Several women accused TV host Charlie Rose of sexual misconduct, including groping and lewd phone calls.

(Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Bill Cosby has faced sexual assault allegations from about 60 women, including several women who claim he drugged them.

(Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)

Mark Schwahn, the former "One Tree Hill" showrunner, was accused of sexual harassment by a large number of the show's cast and crew.

(Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)

Roy Moore faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct with underaged girls.

(REUTERS/Marvin Gentry)

Bill Clinton faced numerous allegations of sexual assault and misconduct while he was president of the United States, with accusers including Juanita Broaddrick, who accused him of rape, Kathleen Willey who said he groped her and Paula Jones who said he exposed himself to her without consent.

(Photo by Dirck Halstead/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

Actor Casey Affleck settled lawsuits out of court wth two women who accused him of sexual harassment.  

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Film Independent)

Bill O'Reilly has reportedly made numerous settlements with women who accused him of sexual harassment.

(Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Anthony Weiner, a former Democratic congressman was sentenced to 21 months in prison in September 2017 after pleading guilty to sexting a teenage girl.

(TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Veteran journalist Mark Halperin has been accused of sexually harassing women while he worked at ABC News.

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Singer R. Kelly is accused of holding women against their will in houses in Illinois and Georgia in a reported 'sex cult.'

(Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Former Fox Host Eric Bolling was accused of sending unsolicited lewd text messages to female colleagues.

(Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Director Roman Polanski fled the US after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. Several other women have also come forward to accuse him of sexual assault.

(REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann)

Chef John Besh stepped down from the company he founded after female employees reported facing sexual harassment there. 

(Photo by Mireya Acierto/Getty Images for NYCWFF)

Photographer Terry Richardson was labeled the 'Harvey Weinstein of Fashion' by the Sunday Times amid widespread accusations of sexual harassment by models.

(Photo by Eugene Gologursky/WireImage)

Singer Kesha accused Lukasz Gottwald aka Dr. Luke of drugging and sexually assaulting her on multiple occasions.

(Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)

Former champion boxer Mike Tyson was convicted of raping a Miss Black America contestant in 1992. 

(REUTERS/Michael Clevenger/POOL)

Former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar has been accused of sexual abuse by dozens of his former patients and athletes.

(JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

Music mogul L.A. Reid left his position as Epic Records CEO/Chairman in 2017 amid harassment claims by a female assistant.

(Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

Amazon Studios chief Roy Price resigned following reports that he harassed a producer and ignored an actress' allegation of sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein.

(Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)

Several women have accused former President George H.W. Bush of groping them during photo ops.

(REUTERS/Adrees Latif)

Chris Savino (right), creator of  'The Loud House' was suspended by Nickelodeon after being accused of making unwanted advances toward multiple women.

(Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SCAD)

Actor Steven Seagal was accused of sexual misconduct by Inside Edition's chief investigative correspondent Lisa Guerrero.

(Photo by Paul Archuleta/Getty Images,)

Michael Oreskes, senior vice president of news and editorial director of National Public Radio, was accused of inappropriate conduct with two women in 1990s.

(REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad)

Dustin Hoffman was accused of sexually harassing a production assistant when he was 48 and she was a high school senior.

(REUTERS/Stephane Mahe)

Jeremy Piven was accused by actress Ariane Bellamar of groping her on two separate occasions. Piven 'unequivocally' denied the allegations.

(REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Ben Affleck apologized for acting 'inappropriately' towards Hilarie Burton during an appearance on MTV's "Total Request Live" in 2003.

(REUTER/Dylan Martinez

Andy Dick was accused of sexual harassment and misconduct on set, including groping people’s genitals, unwanted kissing/licking and sexual propositions.

(Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)

Four women, including several that were also fellow Scientologists, have accused actor Danny Masterson of sexual assault, according to HuffPost.

 (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Actor Ed Westwick was accused by actress Kristina Cohen of raping her in his home.

(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

David Guillod, producer of 'Atomic Blonde,' is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting several woman.

(Photo by Jennifer Lourie/Getty Images)

Andrew Kreisberg, the showrunner for "Supergirl," was suspended in November 2017 amid numerous sexual harassment allegations by members of his staff.

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Actor Tom Sizemore was reportedly told to leave a film set in 2003 after an 11-year-old actress told her mother that he had touched her genitals.

(REUTERS/Phil McCarten)

Steve Jurvetson left his own venture capital firm after allegations of sexual harassment

(Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

A former model accused George Takei of sexually assaulting him 36 years ago.

(Photo by Tara Ziemba/FilmMagic)

Olympic gold medalist Hope Solo accused former FIFA president Sepp Blatter of sexually assaulted her at an award ceremony in 2013.

(REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann)

A former writer for 'Mad Men' said the show's creator Matthew Weiner told her that she owed it to him to let him see her naked.

(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

Ron Jeremy has been accused of sexually assaulting more than a dozen women and the allegations span more than 30 years.

(Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Multiple women accused producer Adam Fields of touching them inappropriately and sexually propositioning them.

(Photo by Taylor Hill/WireImage)

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has been accused of unwanted sexual advances by former staffers.

(Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)

John Lasseter, the head of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, was accused of crossing the line with employees, including unwanted hugs.

(Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)

Singer Nick Carter was accused of rape by a former member of the all-girl teen band Dream, Melissa Schuman.

(Photo by Ray Tamarra/GC Images)

A singer accused billionaire Richard Branson of sexual assault during an event as his Necker Island in the Caribbean. Branson says he has no recollection of the matter.

(REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Talent agent Adam Venit is accused of grabbing actor Terry Crews' genitals.

(Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

Jeordie White (aka Twiggy Ramirez), Marilyn Manson former longtime bassist, was accused of rape by singer Jessicka Addams.

(Photo by Chris Weeks/WireImage for Bragman Nyman Cafarelli)

Lockhart Steele, Vox Media's editorial director was fired after a former employee accused him of sexual harassment.

(Photo by Hal Horowitz/WireImage for Haute Magazine)

Producer Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein's brother, has also been accused of sexual harassment. 

(Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)

Jesse Lacey of  the band, Brand New, was accused of sexual misconduct, including soliciting nude photos from a teen girl in the past.

(Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Redferns)

Senior Correspondent for E! News Ken Baker California was accused of sexual harassment by two women.

(Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

American film director Oliver Stone was accused of groping model and actress Carrie Stevens in the 1990s.

(Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)

Reporter Glenn Thrush was suspended by the New York Times after several women accused him of acting inappropriately when they were young journalists.

(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Veteran radio host Garrison Keillor was fired by Minnesota Public Radio following claim of improper behavior.

(Photo by Al Pereira/WireImage)

CNN producer Teddy Davis was fired after multiple accusations of harassment.

(Photo via Twitter)

Producer Russell Simmons stepped down from his companies following sexual assault and harassment accusations from two women.

(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

Longtime conductor James Levine was suspended by New York's Metropolitan Opera after sexual abuse claims.

(Photo by Hiroyuki Ito/Getty Images)

Dylan Howard, editor in chief of the National Enquirer, was accused of sexual misconduct by several former employees, including forcing them to watch porn and openly discussing his sexual partners.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

"X-Men" director Bryan Singer was accused of raping a 17-year-old boy on a yacht in a lawsuit filed in December.

(REUTERS/Hannah McKay)

Harold Ford, Jr.

(Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Chef Mario Batali has been accused by multiple women of "inappropriate touching in a pattern of behavior that spans at least two decades."

(Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)

PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley's show was suspended amid misconduct allegations made against him.

(REUTERS/Fred Prouser)

Former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb was fired from his job as an ESPN contributor amid accusations of sexual harassment by a wardrobe stylist at the network.

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Sen. Jeff Klein (D-New York), was accused of forcibly kissing a former female staffer back in 2015. 

(Photo by Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic)

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"I find this whole thing really irresponsible and it hurts people who are supportive of this movement and who believe in it," he says. "This is my own personal taste. I don’t live in Los Angeles. I hope this movement continues to grow, but that there is care shown in who is accused and how the accusation is handled."

Zeta-Jones  attended the Golden Globes on Sunday, where the actress wore black in solidarity of the Time's Up movement. 

"It's really great that women are supporting women and we have to continue to do that," she told ET on the red carpet. "Not just in our industry, not even about vying for roles. This is serious and we're all coming together, and I feel very empowered by that."

"This is a celebrating night for women," she added. "When we work together in numbers, strength is in numbers."

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