Slate reports that in a 1979 interview with Time magazine, actress Meryl Streep says that the first time she met Dustin Hoffman, he grabbed her breast. “He came up to me and said, ‘I’m Dustin—burp—Hoffman,’ and he put his hand on my breast,” Streep claims. “What an obnoxious pig, I thought.” Page Six reports that other allegations against her former co-star have apparently caused Streep to avoid the media.
That is not the only sexual impropriety Slate dug up from the Oscar-winner’s past:
Streep’s story echoes Hoffman’s own account of “very gently” pinching his Graduate co-star Katharine Ross’ rear end during their first screen test. He did it, he said in a 1992 interview, “as a way to help loosen us up.” Stories about him have circulated in the press for years, framed as the behavior of a playful playboy. “I’m a flirt,” the actor told People magazine in a 1983 cover story. “I also have a lot of chauvinism, a lot of womanizing in my past. It’s hard for me to find a woman unattractive, unless she’s angry or down on herself.” He once told Playboy that he lost his virginity at 15 to a 20-year-old “nymphomaniac” when he pretended, in a darkened room, to be his older brother, Ronny.
The Slate article includes an excerpt from a 1982 Hoffman biography that claims, among other things, he once unzipped a reporter’s blouse while she was interviewing him:
Even Dustin has admitted on occasion that he loves to flirt, claiming that he does it as an involuntary reflex. He has supposedly cornered women in elevators to solicit sex and has even unzipped one woman reporter’s blouse to peek down her chest during an interview. He tries to catch himself, but finds it difficult to overcome the temptation.
Hoffman is currently embroiled in the mushrooming Harveywood scandal. Already two accusers have come forward with the claims that Hoffman engaged in sexual misconduct and harassment.
Writer/producer Riss Gatsiounis told Variety last week that in the early 1990s she had two meetings with Hoffman and screenwriter Murray Schisgal. During the second meeting, she says all the interest about turning her play into a film was ignored in favor of come-ons and unwanted sexual advances:
“I go in, and this time it’s, like, Dustin Hoffman’s really different,” Riss Gatsiounis said. “He says, ‘Before you start, let me ask you one question, Wendy — have you ever been intimate with a man over 40?’” Flustered, Riss Gatsiounis attempted to laugh off the comment. But Hoffman persisted.
“I’ll never forget — he moves back, he opens his arms, and he says, ‘It would be a whole new body to explore,’” she said. “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.’”
Schisgal says he does not recall any of this.
Another accuser, Anna Graham Hunter, who was just 17 at the time, came forward last week with the claim that Hoffman groped and repeatedly harassed her while she interned on Death of a Salesman in 1985.
Hunter wrote in an exhaustive essay published Wednesday. “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 said she documented how Hoffman, who was 48 at the time, treated her in a series of daily letters she wrote to her sister.
The letters revealed that the actor also allegedly harassed another production assistant, named Elizabeth, and detailed how the alleged harassment went from flirtatious banter to fully physical.
Responding to the above accuser, Hoffman released an apology. “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,” Hoffman wrote. “It is not reflective of who I am.”
Streep has not yet commented on her 38-year-old allegation that Hoffman groped her breast, and she appears to be avoiding the media.
Page Six reports that “with the recent sexual-harassment allegations against her former leading man Dustin Hoffman — who allegedly slapped her on the set of their 1979 film, Kramer vs. Kramer — the three-time Oscar winner” skipped a walk on the red carpet at a charity event last week, where she would have been asked questions by the media.