Published Nov 01, 2017Dustin Hoffman is the latest Hollywood celebrity to have accusations of sexual harassment levelled against him. Writer Anna Graham Hunter has shared her experiences with the 80-year-old Oscar-winning actor, accusing him of sexually harassing her when she was an intern on the set of Death of Salesman in 1985. She was 17 at the time.
In a column for The Hollywood Reporter, Hunter has detailed a string of incidents that took place during the making of the TV film. She interned as a production assistant, while she was still a high school senior in New York City, and said that on her first day on set, Hoffman asked her for a foot massage and she obliged.
From then on, she said that he was "openly flirtatious," grabbing her rear end and talking about sex to her and in front of her.
The inappropriate behaviour escalated, with Hunter writing:
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 went on to detail aspects of the job that she genuinely loved, and admitted that she even loved the attention from Hoffman — "Until I didn't."
She documented her five weeks on the set, making copies of her dispatches before mailing them to her sister in London. Amongst the revelations included in her notes were instances of fellow staffers giving Hoffman foot massages (in the presence of his eight-year-old daughter). Later in her first week on set, Hunter recounted an "enlightening discussion on breasts."
In her second week, Hunter claimed that Hoffman asked her: "So, did you have sex over the weekend like I told you?" By the end of that week, she noted that there were elements of the business that "scare me."
She wrote that she was "completely disillusioned" and called Hoffman "a lech" before detailing an encounter between Hoffman and a fellow production assistant where he answered "your left breast" when asked what he wanted for lunch. When the production assistant responded by calling him a "pig," an office assistant reportedly claimed that if the producer had heard her say that, "She would have been gone in a second."
Hunter also noted that Hoffman "felt my ass four times" and said that she hit him each time and told him he was "a dirty old man." She expressed fear that the producer would fire her if he saw her hitting the actor.
On February 4, 1985, Hunter wrote: "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."
Later that week, Hunter made note that after a set visit from Warren Beatty, Hoffman told her, "You might as well have undressed yourself. You were saying, 'Fuck me, fuck me, Warren.'"
By her fifth and final week, Hunter wrote, "No one is 100 percent good or bad. Dustin's a pig, but I like him a lot."
Analyzing her old letters and looking through old photos in present day, Hunter said, "my heart aches."
"At 49, I understand what Dustin Hoffman did as it fits into the larger pattern of what women experience in Hollywood and everywhere," Hunter concluded. "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."
Read her entire piece for The Hollywood Reporter here.
When asked for comment by THR, Hoffman responded: "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."
Hunter's public accusations are the latest in a flood of other sexual harassment and assault survivors coming forward with their own stories. Actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, as well as Lupita Nyong'o, accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct, while Kevin Spacey, director James Toback, producer Brett Ratner have all been accused of sexual misconduct by fellow Hollywood stars in recent weeks.