n the most recent episode of the podcast “On with Kara Swisher,” Geena Davis, an Academy Award-winning actress and film icon, discussed the accusations she made against Murray in her October 2021 memoir “Dying of Politeness.” She detailed instances of highly inappropriate behavior by Murray during the filming of their 1990 crime comedy “Quick Change,” such as an uncomfortable incident with an electric massager at a hotel suite audition, and a strange incident in which Murray stormed into her trailer while dressed as a clown in a fit of rage.
If it’s difficult to visualize Murray behaving wildly inappropriately towards a respected coworker, the good news is that you don’t have to – the bad news is that this horrifying video of Murray practically molesting Davis on a 1990 episode of The Arsenio Hall Show can never be unseen.
Davis’ reticence and visual discomfort on The Arsenio Hall Show when asked about her Quick Change audition is disturbingly understandable considering how her story goes – “I went to meet with Bill Murray and his co-director and a producer in a hotel suite, and, uh, I came in and went to sit down with everybody sitting there,” Davis told Swisher. “But Bill Murray popped up and said, ‘Hey, have you ever tried the thumper?’ And I’m like, ‘What? No. What’s that?’ ‘Well come try it.’ ‘No, no, no.’”
The idea of holding an “audition” in a hotel suite is disgusting enough considering everything that has come to light about how Hollywood treats its actresses, but Davis’ story about Murray in the hotel room is especially hard to stomach, especially when she’s telling it while he’s slobbering all over her bare shoulder on national TV. After Davis repeatedly rejected Murray’s demands, he pointed her to the bed where he had “a giant massage device with big handles on it.” Murray told her to lay down on the bed and let him use the massager on her.
Davis says she repeatedly told Murray to stop, telling Swisher, “I keep saying ‘No’ to the point where I would’ve had to scream at him, ‘Stop fucking asking me! I am not doing it. Do you understand?’ Which I was far too timid to do.” Eventually, Davis says she realized that Murray wasn’t going to stop until she gave in, “So I perched on the corner of the bed and let him do it, and he did it for like one second, and then didn’t ask how I liked it or anything. So I realized it was just to see if he could force me to do something inappropriate.” Davis says a co-director and co-producer from Quick Change both witnessed the incident and did nothing to stop it.
Davis was cast in the role, and, on the first day of shooting, she says she endured more shocking and disgraceful treatment from Murray. The cast and crew were preparing to shoot a massive and expensive scene in a Manhattan intersection with Murray and hundreds of extras waiting for Davis to join them on set, but Davis says she was asked by the costume department to wait a moment for them while the crew prepared to shoot. Davis obtained permission from the assistant director to stay behind until costumes could attend to her.
Says Davis, “Seconds later, Bill Murray — in a full clown costume, by the way — slams into the trailer with rage coming out of his eyeballs and starts screaming at me and swearing at me, ‘Get the fuck out there! What the fuck are you doing? Move! Move!’ And he got behind me and screamed in my ear, ‘Move! Move faster! Move it!’” Murray screamed Davis out of her trailer against the instructions of the assistant director and costumes department, berating her all the way to her place for the scene – “We’re getting to this intersection where there’s hundreds of people watching this, and he keeps it up and keeps it up until he says, ‘Stand there’ and points to a mark on the pavement and starts shooting.”
Davis still feels the emotional impact of Murray’s degrading outburst to this day – said Davis, “Talking about it actually, it’s still — it’s very emotional for me because I felt so ashamed.”
Watching Davis relive these awful events while Bill Murray gropes her for nine minutes straight on national television is stomach-turningly vile. Murray’s history of misbehavior is as legendary and publicized as his film career, but this might be the most blatant, bold-faced, red-handed accusation against him that has yet to come out.
How many horrid allegations about Bill Murray does it take before Marvel finally reshoots Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania with Will Ferrell? Don’t hold your breath, and if Murray’s film career continues unabated after these awful stories have surfaced, let’s all finally agree that there is absolutely no such thing as “cancel culture” in comedy.