A woman has accused Dustin Hoffman of sexually harassing her as a teenager in a column that describes the actor as making lewd comments and groping her on the set of the 1985 TV film adaptation of “Death of a Salesman.”
Anna Graham Hunter said in a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter that Hoffman attempted to grope her four times while she was working as a production assistant on set. Another time, when she went to his dressing room to take his breakfast order, she said he responded, “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 wrote. “The first several times I told this story, I left out the soft-boiled clitoris. When I finally started including it, my voice sometimes broke. But it got easier.”
Hunter said that in high school, she had been sexually harassed but chose to accept the misconduct as opposed to being ignored. One of those incidents, she said, involved author Frank McCourt, who was teaching a writing class at her school and told her that he could “feast my tired eyes on you.”
“I would have rather been my friend whose essay he liked so much he helped her get it published in The New York Times, but I was grateful to get into his class,” she wrote. “By the time Dustin Hoffman asked me to give him a foot rub, I’d learned to reconcile mild humiliation with desire for attention or access.”
Hunter said that today, her thoughts on Hoffman are complicated, saying that she admired Hoffman prior to meeting him and that she still likes watching his films, but that she is no longer excusing his actions.
“Whenever I talk about this, I sense that my listeners want a victim and a villain. And I wish my feelings were as clear as theirs. I would be more comfortable if I felt nothing but revulsion for a man who had power over me and abused it,” she explained.
“At 49, I understand what Dustin Hoffman did as it fits into the larger pattern of what women experience in Hollywood and everywhere. He was a predator, I was a child, and this was sexual harassment.”
Hoffman responded to Hunter’s claims with 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. It is not reflective of who I am,” he said in a statement provided to TheWrap.