Two time Academy Award winning actor Dustin Hoffman is now the latest to be accused of sexual misconduct. The actor, best known for his work in movies like Rain Man and All the President's Men, has been accused of sexually harassing writer Anna Graham Hunter while working on the 1985 TV film, Death of a Salesman. At the time of her encounters with Hoffman, she was just 17-years-old. Here's what she had to say about it in a recent column.
"When I was a senior in high school in New York City, interning as a production assistant on the set of the Death of a Salesman TV film, he asked me to give him a foot massage my first day on set; I did. 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."
Hunter documented her experiences with Dustin Hoffman while working with him in a series of letters she sent to her sister while working on Death of a Salesman. The letters were published, with some names changed, as part of her column, detailing the sexual harassment she faced while working on the movie. The letters paint a grim picture of one of Hollywood's most respected actors.
According to Hunter's account, Hoffman did everything from grabbing her butt multiple times, despite her pleas for him to stop, had inappropriate conversations in front of her and once said something "so gross I couldn't say anything. I just turned around and walked out." He also pressured her to lose her virginity and, at one point, said that he wanted "your left breast" for lunch to one of the other girls working on the set. Despite this, Hunter admits that her feelings on the actor remain mixed to this day.
"Whenever I talk about this, I sense that my listeners want a victim and a villain. And I wish my feelings were as clear as theirs. I would be more comfortable if I felt nothing but revulsion for a man who had power over me and abused it. But I still like watching him onscreen. I owned the VHS of Tootsie for a long time and watched it over and over in my 20s and 30s, even as I remembered telling him how disappointed I was, that I expected better of him after that movie. Not long ago I watched All the President's Men for the first time in years and then texted my sister: Is it weird that I find him kind of sexy in this after what he did?"
In her column, Hunter also discusses encountering "another, much older married actor" a year and a half after her harassment at the hands of Dustin Hoffman, who also "charmed and repelled" her. Though she didn't name this actor specifically, she says that he was "in it for the long game" and harassed her over a much longer period of time. She also says that she recognizes Dustin Hoffman was a "predator."
"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."
This is just the latest in a series of accusations made against many powerful figures in Hollywood. Recently, Kevin Spacey was also accused of sexually harassing actor Anthony Rapp when he was just 14-years-old, which prompted Spacey to come out as Gay. This has all been in the wake of Harvey Weinstein's decades of sexual harassment being exposed. Dustin Hoffman had this to say in response to Hunter's allegations.
"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."
It's clear that the dominoes are going to continue to fall as more men and women come forward with their stories of sexual harassment in Hollywood. While much of this is being revealed long after the events occurred, getting them out in the open is forcing change. You can read Anna Graham Hunter's full account on The Hollywood Reporter.