Bill Murray spoke out over the weekend in his first public remarks since production on his upcoming film was halted following a complaint that he’d behaved inappropriately towards a woman on set. Though he didn’t offer an apology regarding the complaint—the nature of which still hasn’t been fully revealed—the Hollywood veteran also said that he’s working with the woman in question to settle the matter, and suggested that he would change his behavior in future.
“We had a difference of opinion—I had a difference of opinion with a woman I’m working with,” Murray told CNBC Saturday. “I did something I thought was funny, and it wasn’t taken that way.”
Reports emerged last month that filming for Being Mortal, which stars Murray, Keke Palmer, and Seth Rogen and is being directed by Aziz Ansari (who was the subject of a different controversy surrounding allegations of inappropriate behavior in 2018) was suspended amid an investigation into Murray’s behavior.
In the wake of the production pause, Page Six reported that an anonymous source said that Murray had been very “hands-on touchy” with a woman on set. The source alleged that he had “put an arm around a woman, touched her hair, pulled her ponytail—but always in a comedic way.”
“It is a fine line and everybody loves Bill,” Page Six quoted the source, “but while his conduct is not illegal, some women felt uncomfortable and he crossed a line.”
The actor talked about the incident at some length in a CNBC interview on Saturday at a Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting. (The news channel reported that the actor is among the company’s shareholders.)
“It’s been quite an education for me, I’ve been doing not much else but thinking about it for the last week or two,” Murray added. “The world is different than it was when I was a little kid. You know, what I always thought was funny as a little kid isn’t necessarily the same as what’s funny now. Things change and the times change, so it’s important for me to figure it out. And I think the most important thing is that it’s best for the other person. I thought about it, and if it’s not best for the other person, doesn’t matter what happens for me.”
He said that he and the woman were “talking,” and “trying to make peace with each other.” Murray also said that he was “optimistic” that the matter would be settled and production on Being Mortal, which is based on the non-fiction book of the same name by celebrated surgeon and writer Atul Gawande (who formerly served as CEO of a company co-owed by Berkshire Hathaway), would resume.
After news of the recent allegations broke, a 2003 interview with the late Hollywood producer Laura Ziskin circulated on Twitter. In the article, Ziskin described having an argument with Murray during the filming of the 1991 movie “What About Bob?”
Ziskin, the producer of “Spider-Man,” had such a spirited disagreement with Bill Murray during the making of “What About Bob?” that the actor threw her into a lake. Ziskin says the lake toss was playful, but much of the argument was not.
“Bill also threatened to throw me across the parking lot and then broke my sunglasses and threw them across the parking lot,” she said. “I was furious and outraged at the time, but having produced a dozen movies, I can safely say it is not common behavior.”
In his recent interview, Murray suggested that he intended to change his behavior going forward: “That’s a really sad puppy, that can’t learn anymore,” he told CNBC. “I don’t want to be that sad dog, and I have no intention of it.”