We appear to have reached a turning point in the history of the entertainment industry’s reputation for sexual harassment and assault. The floodgates have burst, and the stories and accusations are pouring out. In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment story, numerous other powerful actors have been accused in only the last few days: actor Kevin Spacey,director Brett Ratner, actor Andy Dick and more.
The latest is acting legend Dustin Hoffman, the star of everything from Rain Man to The Graduate. In a shocking piece in The Hollywood Reporter this morning, a female former intern named Anna Graham Hunter details an accusation of sexual harassment from Hoffman on the set of the 1985 film Death of a Salesman. The title: “Dustin Hoffman Sexually Harassed Me When I Was 17.”
“He asked me to give him a foot massage my first day on set; I did,” Hunter writes. “He was openly flirtatious, he grabbed my ass, he talked about sex to me and in front of me. One morning I went to his dressing room to take his breakfast order; he looked at me and grinned, taking his time. Then he said, ‘I’ll have a hard-boiled egg … and a soft-boiled clitoris.’ His entourage burst out laughing. I left, speechless. Then I went to the bathroom and cried.”
The fact that such exchanges were apparently taking place in front of an entire entourage certainly makes one wonder how much worse things would be if the intern was ALONE with such a person. Hunter goes on to say that Hoffman wasn’t shy about groping her at will during the production, while she was told by supervisors on set that she would need to “sacrifice some of her values for the sake of the production,” if she was going to make it in this business. In a diary that she mailed to her sister at the time, Hunter wrote the following:
“Today, when I was walking Dustin to his limo, he felt my ass four time. I hit him each time, hard, and told him he was a dirty old man.”
And from later in the Hollywood Reporter piece:
“At 49, I understand what Dustin Hoffman did as it fits into the larger pattern of what women experience in Hollywood and everywhere. He was a predator, I was a child, and this was sexual harassment. As to how it fits into my own pattern, I imagine I’ll be figuring that out for years to come.”
Hoffman has already responded to THR’s story, with what has become a common strategy in these cases: Giving a general apology without admitting to any specific wrongdoing. He writes:
“I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation. I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am.”
“I have the utmost respect for women.” For someone who professes to be stringently anti-Trump, does that not sound like a familiar Trump line?