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US documentary film-maker Morgan Spurlock has publicly confessed to a history of sexual misconduct, referring to himself as “part of the problem”.
Spurlock, who made the hit film Super Size Me, wrote on Twitter that he had been accused of rape and had paid to settle a claim of sexual harassment.
He also admitted cheating on “every wife and girlfriend I have ever had”.
The US entertainment industry has been rocked by claims of sexual abuse and harassment going back decades.
In a lengthy statement, Spurlock said that after months of such revelations he had come to the conclusion that “I am not some innocent bystander, I am also a part of the problem”.
“As I sit around watching hero after hero, man after man, fall at the realisation of their past indiscretions, I don’t sit by and wonder ‘who will be next?’ I wonder, ‘when will they come for me?’,” he wrote.
He said the allegations of rape took place at college. It did not lead to charges or investigations but he said the woman had written about the incident in a story writing class and had named Spurlock.
The settlement for alleged harassment involved a female employee and took place about eight years ago, he said.
“It wasn’t a gropy, feely harassment. It was verbal, and it was just as bad,” he wrote.
“I would call my female assistant ‘hot pants’ or ‘sex pants’ when I was yelling to her from the other side of the office. Something I thought was funny at the time, but then realised I had completely demeaned and belittled her to a place of non-existence.”
Spurlock, 47, said that when the woman decided to leave she asked for a settlement in return for her silence.
“Being who I was, it was the last thing I wanted, so of course I paid,” he said.
“I paid for peace of mind. I paid for her silence and co-operation. Most of all, I paid so I could remain who I was.”
‘I will do better’
Spurlock said he himself had been the victim of sexual abuse as a boy and a teenager, and also had a longstanding drink problem.
“I haven’t been sober for more than a week in 30 years, something our society doesn’t shun or condemn but which only served to fill the emotional hole inside me and the daily depression I coped with,” he wrote.
Spurlock said he hoped that by “recognising and openly admitting what I’ve done to further this terrible situation, I hope to empower the change within myself”.
“We should all find the courage to admit we’re at fault,” he said.
“I will do better. I will be better. I believe we all can.”
Responding to messages on Twitter, Spurlock said he was “seeking help”.
Fresh claims of sexual misconduct against entertainment industry figures have been appearing on an almost daily basis for weeks. The revelations have sparked the #MeToo movement in which women have come forward with their stories.
Actress Salma Hayek recently alleged that Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed and threatened her, describing him as a rage-fuelled “monster”.
Dozens of actresses, including Rose McGowan, Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow, have accused Weinstein of harassment or assault.
Weinstein denies all allegations of non-consensual sex.
Ref: BBC News