Morgan Spurlock: ‘I Am Part of the Problem’

Posted December 14, 2017 10:24 p.m. EST
Updated December 14, 2017 10:30 p.m. EST

Morgan Spurlock, the U.S. documentary filmmaker, stepped down from his production company Thursday, one day after he published a post saying that he had committed sexual misconduct in the past, including settling a harassment allegation and cheating on his wives and girlfriends.

An emailed statement from Warrior Poets, the independent production company that Spurlock co-founded, said that the decision was effective immediately, and that the company would be led by co-founder Jeremy Chilnick and another partner, Matthew Galkin. It did not give a reason and did not say whether his departure was permanent.

The announcement came after Spurlock posted a statement on Twitter late Wednesday saying that as he was watching women publicly accuse high-profile men in a range of industries of sexual misconduct, it was “time for me to be truthful as well.”

“As I sit around watching hero after hero, man after man, fall at the realization of their past indiscretions, I don’t sit by and wonder ‘who will be next?'” he wrote in the statement, which was linked to his verified Twitter account. “I wonder, ‘when will they come for me?'”

“You see, I’ve come to understand after months of these revelations, that I am not some innocent bystander, I am also a part of the problem,” Spurlock said.

Spurlock, 47, was propelled to fame by his 2004 documentary assault on fast food, “Super Size Me,” in which he probed the effects on his health — including gaining 25 pounds — while eating nothing but McDonald’s food for a month. He went on to make more than a dozen other movies with credits for producing, directing, acting and writing.

In his post, he reflected on the details of an encounter that he had when he was a student in college. In that account, he said he “hooked up” with a woman who later wrote a short story for a class about it, accusing him by name of rape.

He said he was “floored” when a friend told him about the woman’s short story. “This wasn’t how I remembered it at all,” he said.

He said that the two had gone back to his room after a night of drinking. In his account, he said they “started having sex” although she had pushed him off while “fooling around” and saying she did not want to.

At one point the woman started to cry.

“I didn’t know what to do,” Spurlock wrote. “We stopped having sex and I rolled beside her. I tried to comfort her. To make her feel better. I thought I was doing OK, I believed she was feeling better. She believed she was raped. That’s why I’m part of the problem.”

Marian Koltai-Levine, Spurlock’s representative, said in an emailed statement Thursday that Spurlock had no further comment. In recent months, multiple women have come forward with stories of sexual assault and harassment, particularly after The New York Times and The New Yorker published reports in October about numerous harassment, sexual assault and rape allegations against the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

Amid a relentless series of revelations, many high-profile men in the entertainment, news media, restaurant and other industries have been fired or forced to resign. Men in the movie and restaurant business have had projects canceled or suspended.

Spurlock appears to be an unusual case because he has opened up about his behavior before any public accusation.

In his statement, Spurlock also said that about eight years ago, he settled a sexual harassment allegation for calling his assistant “hot pants” or “sex pants” from across the room in the office.

“Something I thought was funny at the time, but then realized I had completely demeaned and belittled her to a place of nonexistence,” Spurlock wrote.

“So, when she decided to quit, she came to me and said if I didn’t pay her a settlement, she would tell everyone. Being who I was, it was the last thing I wanted, so of course, I paid. I paid for peace of mind. I paid for her silence and cooperation. Most of all, I paid so I could remain who I was.”

He said he had been unfaithful to every wife and girlfriend that he has had. “Over the years, I would look each of them in the eye and proclaim my love and then have sex with other people behind their backs,” he wrote. “I hurt them. And I hate it. But it didn’t make me stop.” In his post, Spurlock tried to examine the reasons for his actions. He said he was sexually abused as a boy and as a teenager, which he only told his first wife about because he was afraid of “being seen as weak or less than a man.”

“Is it because my father left my mother when I was child? Or that she believed he never respected her, so that disrespect carried over into their son?”

He also said he struggled with daily depression and had been consistently drinking since the age of 13.

Spurlock said that he hoped, by openly admitting what he had done, that he could change for the better. “I’m finally ready to listen,” he said.