Even Dustin Hoffman. Damnit. Even Dustin Hoffman
You gotta write about it even when it’s someone you admire as an actor, otherwise what’s the point? You can’t separate likable sexual harassers from the unlikable assholes.
Dustin Hoffman harassed a 17-year-old (a teenager!) on the set of the 1985 film, Death of a Salesman (Hoffman was 48 at the time). From the sound of it, it wasn’t an isolated incident, either. It sounds like he was pretty regularly a dirty old man, but he was charming and likable enough that a lot of people looked the other way, including the woman he was harassing at the time, who came away from the experience with very mixed feelings, at the time.
The story comes from Anna Graham Hunter, who was interning as a production assistant on Death of the Salesman in 1985. She kept notes, which she sent to her sister, at the time. They’re all in the THR post, but the gist of it is: He asked her about her sex life a lot. He was very handsy with her. He grabbed her butt repeatedly. He asked her to give him a foot massage.
Here’s a small passage:
January 31, 1985 Today, I realized some things about this business that scare me. First of all, Dustin’s a lech. I’m completely disillusioned. After Tootsie, I thought I wanted to marry him.
Elizabeth asked him what he wanted for lunch and he said, “Your left breast.”
“OK, your right breast.”
“You pig.” She walked away.
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.
Anna Graham Hunter eventually did say something (or as her supervisor said, she made “an issue of it”) and Hoffman was mostly respectful of her afterwards, except for that time she stood next to Warren Beaty for a bit and he said, “You might as well have undressed yourself. You were saying, ‘Fuck me, fuck me, Warren.’”
So, yeah: Put Dustin Hoffman in the lecherous, dirty old man category. I have a feeling that list is just gonna get longer and longer in the days and weeks and months ahead.
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