Michael Douglas Explains Son Cameron's Jail Reference in Emmys Speech

Celebrity News Sep. 23, 2013 AT 8:30AM
Michael Douglas at the Emmy Awards on September 22, 2013 After referencing his son Cameron's 10-year jail sentence during his Emmys 2013 speech, Michael Douglas explains that he's "questioning the system" after not being allowed to see his son for two years. Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty

Free Cameron Douglas? Michael Douglas used his 2013 Emmys acceptance speech as an opportunity to draw attention to what he believes to be an unjust federal prison system. The 68-year-old Behind the Candelabra actor took home the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie at the 2013 Emmy Awards in L.A. on Sunday, Sept. 22, and gave a special "shout out" to his eldest son Cameron, who is serving a 10-year sentence in prison on drug charges.

"I'm hoping I'll be able to -- [they'll] allow me to see him soon," Douglas said on stage about his 35-year-old son from his first marriage to Diandra Luker. Backstage after his win, the actor further explained what he meant by the comment.

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"Well, my son is in federal prison based upon -โ€“ he's been a drug addict for a large part of his life and was arrested and selling drugs and is in federal prison," Douglas, who is currently separated from second wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, explained. "And part of their punishments if you happen to have a slip -โ€“ this is for a prisoner who is nonviolent -- as about a half a million of our drug addicted prisoners are, they punish you. So for my son's case, he's spent almost 2 years in solitary confinement and right now I'm being told that I cannot see him for two years."

"It's over a year now and I'm questioning the system. Obviously, at first, I was certainly disappointed with my son, but I've reached a point now where I'm very very disappointed with the system and, as you can see, from what [U.S.] Attorney General Eric Holder has been doing -- and other issues regarding our prison system -- I think things are going to be revived regarding nonviolent drug addicts/criminals," he added. "My last comment on that is the United States represents 5 percent of the world's population and we have 25 percent of the world's prisoners."

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Though Douglas ended his Emmys speech on a serious note, he started by cracking jokes and slipping innuendos about playing Liberace in the HBO biopic -- and starring opposite Matt Damon, who played the pianist's lover, Scott Thorson. "This is a two-hander, and you're only as good as your other hand," Douglas said to Damon, who was sitting in the audience. "You were magnificent. And the only reason I'm standing here is because you, so you really deserve half of this," he added. "So, you want the bottom or the top?"

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Did he prepare the raunchy jokes ahead of time?

"I wasn't prepared for the response on the two-handed," he admitted to reporters.

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"So that took me quite by surprise, but in acting we have expressions called a two hander, which means that it's all about two people together and you're only as good as your other partners -- you rely on each other through the whole piece. I wouldn't be up on stage without Matt and his performance and his commitment. Matt was a surprise. The bottom and the top I thought of that."

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