The avalanche of sexual harassment accusations continue to pour in. Dustin Hoffman, one of the most respected actors in Hollywood, has now been accused of sexual harassment for a second time in just two days time. This time, Genius producer Wendy Riss Gatsiounis has come forward to tell her tale of harassment, which occurred in 1991. At the time, she was in her 20s and Hoffman was 54-years-old.
She had taken a meeting with the actor and Tootsie screenwriter Murray Schisgal to adapt her play, A Darker Purpose, into a movie. During the first meeting, Schisgal asked if she had a boyfriend or husband. She says, "Dustin Hoffman was playfully like, 'Murray, shut up. Don't you know you can't talk to women that way anymore? Times are changing,'" That meeting proceeded to be more professional, which led to a second meeting, after she agreed to rework her play as a film script. Here's what she had to say about the second meeting.
"I go in, and this time it's, like, Dustin Hoffman's really different. He says, 'Before you start, let me ask you one question, Wendy, have you ever been intimate with a man over 40?' I'll never forget, he moves back, he opens his arms, and he says, 'It would be a whole new body to explore.' I'm trying to go back to my pitch, and I'm trying to talk about my play. Then Dustin Hoffman gets up and he says he has to do some clothing shopping at a nearby hotel, and did I want to come along? He's like, 'Come on, come to this nearby hotel.'"
Unfortunately, things didn't get any better from there. Wendy Riss Gatsiounis says she refused to go to the hotel with Dustin Hoffman, which didn't go over particularly well. As she tells it, that seems to be what he was mostly interested in, so once that was taken off the table, he left.
"I'm just completely flustered. I don't know what to make of this whole thing. And Murray's like, 'You can go! It's okay, go! Go!' And Dustin Hoffman finally leaves, because I'm saying I don't want to go to the hotel. And then Murray Schisgal says, 'Look, we're not really interested in your play, because it's too film noir-ish.' And that was it."
Recently, writer Anna Graham Hunter came forward with her own tale of sexual harassment at the hands of Dustin Hoffman while she was working on Death of a Salesman, which was made as a TV movie in 1985. Hoffman issued an apology for the accusation Hunter made, but he's yet to comment in regards to this latest sexual harassment claim. Murray Schisgal has this to say.
"Dustin Hoffman and I took many meetings with writers and playwrights over many years. I have no recollection of this meeting or of any of the behavior or actions described."
Though Riss Gatsiounis eventually found success, the encounter with Dustin Hoffman was very troubling. She decided to come forward now in the wake of the accusations against Harvey Weinstein and the wave of accusations made against others in Hollywood that have followed. This incident has been a source of torment for her for a very long time.
"The whole thing was just a source of torment for me. I was just this writer and he had been my hero, and it stayed with me for a long time...It was one voice in my head saying, 'I was such an idiot. I should have just gone.' And the other voice in my head saying, 'Well, clearly he just wasn't interested [in the play]. Why don't you just realize he just wasn't interested?'"
Harvey Weinstein's decades of sexual harassment coming to light have caused a tidal wave of accusations, like the ones brought against Dustin Hoffman. According to Variety's report, Riss Gatsiounis' agent Mary Meagher, who died in 2006, had heard similar tales about Hoffman over the years. This very likely won't be the last we hear of these accusations in the coming days.