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Vancouver transit 'pausing' announcements featuring Morgan Freeman's voice following harassment claims

Last Updated May 24, 2018 at 5:26 pm EDT

Morgan Freeman accepts the Life Achievement Award at the 24th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision/AP)

Metro Vancouver’s transit authority, TransLink  “pausing” announcements featuring Morgan Freeman‘s voice, following reports that several women are accusing the actor of inappropriate behaviour.

CNN reports eight women say they were victims of harassment and inappropriate behaviour by Freeman. The report suggests eight others witnessed the behaviour.

“In light of information we’ve learned through news stories this morning of serious allegations against actor Morgan Freeman, TransLink has decided to pause his voice announcements as part of a VISA ad campaign on the transit system,” reads a statement from the transit authority.

Announcements featuring Freeman’s voice  were created as a joint promotion of VISA and TransLink’s new “tap payment” feature on transit.

The CNN investigation included allegations from a former production assistant on the film Going in Style. The woman told CNN that Freeman frequently touched her lower back, made inappropriate comments about her body and clothing, and even attempted to lift her skirt while asking if she was wearing underwear.

CNN says it spoke to 16 people who worked with Freeman in various capacities in the film industry, and the eight of them said they witnessed Freeman engaging in inappropriate workplace behaviour that made women feel uncomfortable. None of them came forward though, saying they feared career repercussions.

CNN says Freeman’s spokesperson did not respond to several requests for comment.

The deal with the transit authority was in conjunction with VISA. The actor was not being paid by TransLink.

Freeman had already recorded a series of announcements that would have been played across the system to promote the tap-to-pay feature and discuss bus etiquette.

“We will be in touch with VISA to discuss further,” says the statement from TransLink.

As the controversy unfolded Thursday, Vancouver-raised comedian Seth Rogen offered to lend his voice to local transit.

“If they need a replacement now let me know,” Rogen tweeted. TransLink replied to the actor on Twitter, offering to start a direct-message conversation.