Dustin Hoffman used to have a terrible reputation in Hollywood. Every film production was especially fraught, every interview a battle, every story about him was a denouncement. That was mostly in the 1970s and 1980s – by the ‘90s, Hoffman did enough to show that he had “softened” I guess, and he was brought back into the Hollywood fold completely. That being said, it should not be underestimated that Hoffman was a complete bastard and a complete pig back in those days. Remember this story about how Hoffman treated Meryl Streep on Kramer v. Kramer? He physically assaulted her and taunted her verbally about the recent death of her great love, John Cazale. So, yeah, Hoffman was a douchebag. Perhaps he still is. Now the Hollywood Reporter has a detailed story on how, in 1985, Hoffman sexually harassed and groped Anna Graham Hunter, a young woman who was only 17 years old. You can read the entire piece here. Here’s the intro:
This is a story I’ve told so often I’m sometimes surprised when someone I know hasn’t heard it. It begins, “Dustin Hoffman sexually harassed me when I was 17.” Then I give the details: 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 cl—s.” His entourage burst out laughing. I left, speechless. Then I went to the bathroom and cried.
The first several times I told this story, I left out the soft-boiled cl—is. When I finally started including it, my voice sometimes broke. But it got easier. When I spoke to a reporter recently and she told me she would have to track down people from the set to verify my account, I felt queasy. What would they say? I could only imagine them shaking their heads: “She didn’t seem too bothered by it then. She sure laughed a lot.”
There was so much I loved about being on set — taking John Malkovich’s lunch orders and falling more deeply in love every time he spoke to me or said my name; bonding with the crew as we worked 16-hour days; hearing Arthur Miller say my first two names because they sounded like a word game, and that amused him; dancing the polka with Charles Durning, who made every room he entered a happier place. And yes, I loved the attention from Dustin Hoffman. Until I didn’t. During my five weeks on set, I detailed my days and mailed dispatches to my sister in London after making copies for myself. Recently, I reread them for the first time in several years.
The rest of the article consists of Anna Graham Hunter’s “dispatches” to her sister and you can clearly see the shift between the first days when she’s happy with the attention she’s getting from Hoffman and then it quickly turns very gross as he gropes her regularly, constantly talks about sex, asks her questions about her sex life (SHE IS 17!) and humiliates her and embarasses her repeatedly. When she went to a supervisor to complain, Hoffman was told about it and he harassed her even more.
Hoffman issued an apology about this too, saying: “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 love how all of these serial sexual assailants and serial harassers want you to know upfront that they totally love women and have respect for women. If you really loved and respected women, wouldn’t you have shown that throughout your life?
Photos courtesy of WENN.