Bill Murray: Sexual Assault Allegations From ‘Being Mortal’ Set Emerge

Murray reportedly straddled a production member and attempted to kiss him during Aziz Ansari’s since-suspended directorial debut.

New details about the suspension of Bill Murray from Searchlight Pictures’ Being Mortal emerged from a recent report from Puck.

On April 18, Searchlight halted production on Aziz Ansari’s directorial debut, Being Mortal, after a complaint was filed against star Bill Murray for improper conduct. According to Puck reporter Eriq Gardner, Searchlight is no longer making the film.

Although there were no details on the allegations, some speculated that Murray’s co-star Keke Palmer was the victim of the alleged inappropriate behavior. But according to Puck, Murray was “particularly kind to a female production staff member” whose name was withheld from the story. Gardner wrote:

This much younger woman, Murray felt, had been flirting with him. At a moment when the two were in close proximity to a bed that was part of the production, Murray began kissing her body and straddling her. It was perhaps an unclear piece of physical comedy, but one that was unheralded. She couldn’t move because he outweighed her, she claimed. He then kissed her on the mouth, despite both Murray and the woman wearing masks due to Covid protocols.

During an interview with CNBC later in April, Bill Murray said his behavior was “so insensitive” without going into specifics.

The woman, according to Puck, interpreted Murray’s behavior as sexual. Her complaint about Searchlight’s production made it to Disney Brass, with Searchlight allegedly telling the cast and crew in an unsigned memo that the film was on hold.

According to the report, Murray is well aware that his behavior affected many people, including those who lost their jobs. He worked with the employee in mediation and, according to Puck, reached a settlement of more than $100,000. However, Searchlight mother Disney has not resumed the half-finished production.

As Gardner noted, “During [Searchlight] Still enjoying plenty of creative leeway to chase awards, Disney tends not to tolerate that kind of controversy — especially when the box office for specialty films is so stretched and the ‘win’ here is likely to land an award winner on Hulu.”

IndieWire has reached out to representatives from Bill Murray and his accuser, as well as Searchlight Pictures for comment.

Based on the non-fiction book Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande, principal photography for the film began March 28 and was reportedly semi-finished before Murray was charged. The film has been set for a 2023 release date.

The film was last bought at the Cannes market, with Rolling Stone reporting that the film may be looking for a new studio house.

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Lindsay Lowe

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