Michael Douglas slams sexual harassment claim as 'complete lie'

Michael Douglas has denied claims he sexually harassed a woman 30 years ago, even though the matter hasn't been reported.

Actor Douglas, who is married to Catherine Zeta-Jones, described taking a pre-emptive strike against the allegation.

The 73-year-old labelled the claim a "complete lie", saying his children had been "really upset" by the accusation.

In an interview with US entertainment website Deadline, Falling Down star Douglas said: "I felt the need to get ahead of this.

"It pertains to me but I'm also getting a sense of how it reflects in our culture, and what is going on today. I see it as a cautionary tale."

Michael Douglas with his father, Kirk, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Credit: AP

He said that his son was accepted into college on the same day he received a message from his lawyer, which alerted him to the Hollywood Reporter's plans to run a story about an employee who worked for him "approximately 32 years ago".

Douglas said that, among the claims by the woman - who has not been identified - one was that he had "masturbated in front of her".

"This is a complete lie, fabrication, no truth to it whatsoever," Douglas said.

He said that the reporter had told him that another outlet, Variety, was planning to run the story, and that he was "floored" that such a story could be chronicled in the press without "corroboration".

Douglas said: "It's extremely painful. I pride myself on my reputation in this business, not to mention the long history of my father and everything else.

"I don't have skeletons in my closet, or anyone else who's coming out or saying this.

"I'm bewildered why, after 32 years, this is coming out, now."