Hollywood veteran Dustin Hoffman has been accused of sexually harassing a 17-year-old high school student while working on the 1985 drama Death of a Salesman.
Anna Graham Hunter, writing in The Hollywood Reporter, says she was interning as a production assistant on the Hoffman-starring film when the two-time Oscar-winner allegedly groped her, repeatedly talked about sex, and asked for a foot massage on her first day on the set.
“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,” 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.
“When I was walking Dustin to his limo, he felt my ass four times,” Hunter wrote. “I hit him each time, hard, and told him he was a dirty old man. He took off his hat and pointed to his head (shaved for the part) and said, ‘No, I’m a dirty young man, I have a full head of hair.’”
The alleged abuse went on for weeks until Hunter said she confronted the actor:
This morning when I asked Dustin what he wanted for breakfast, he said something that beat even his lows. It was worse than anything anyone has ever said to me on the street. It was so gross I couldn’t say anything. I just turned around and walked out.
After that he was so nice to me I was shocked. We talked about Ironweed (always a good conversation starter — “So, have you read Ironweed?”). Between takes he kept passing me bubble gum. Suddenly a piece would come flying out of nowhere, and then I’d see him smiling. When I was walking up the stairs carrying a box of Cokes, he rushed up and grabbed it for me. I guess he felt really bad. He was like he is around his wife — Mr. Paternity.
Hunter said her supervisor, Brenda, advised her not to make Hoffman’s alleged behavior an issue on the set.
Hoffman issued an apology in a statement to THR: “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.”
The allegations against the 80-year-old film legend come amid a string of sexual harassment or assault allegations made against Hollywood heavyweights and mainstream media figures, including Harvey Weinstein, James Toback, Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner, Mark Halperin, and NPR’s Michael Oreskes.