Thursday 19 April 2018

Second woman accuses Dustin Hoffman of sexual harassment

Actor Dustin Hoffman takes a picture as he attends ‘The
Meyerowitz Stories’ photocall during the Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Getty Images
Actor Dustin Hoffman takes a picture as he attends ‘The Meyerowitz Stories’ photocall during the Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Getty Images

A second woman has come forward accusing Dustin Hoffman of sexual harassment.

The 80-year-old actor released a statement on Wednesday following writer Anna Graham Hunter's claims that he harassed her on the set of TV movie Death of a Salesman in 1985, saying he felt terrible that he made her feel uncomfortable and apologising for the incident.

Now, playwright Wendy Riss Gatsiounis has come forward with her own tale about Hoffman, claiming that he behaved inappropriately when they met along with Tootsie screenwriter Murray Schisgal to discuss adapting her play A Darker Purpose into a feature film back in 1991.

Riss Gatsiounis told the New York Post's gossip column Page Six that in the first meeting, Schisgal asked her whether she had a partner, at which point Hoffman cut him off and "playfully" said "Murray, shut up. Don’t you know you can’t talk to women that way anymore? Times are changing".

Apparently the tone of the meeting then changed and became more professional, and Riss Gatsiounis left after being asked to rewrite her pitch.

Three weeks later, she returned for a second meeting, at which she claimed that Hoffman was "really different".

"He says, ‘Before you start, let me ask you one question, Wendy - have you ever been intimate with a man over 40?’” she alleged, recalling that she was flustered and attempted to ignore the question.

"I’ll never forget - he moves back, he opens his arms, and he says, ‘It would be a whole new body to explore.'"

She alleges that at that point, Hoffman said he had to do some clothing shopping at a nearby hotel and invited her to accompany him. She declined, despite Schisgal apparently encouraging her to go with Hoffman.

“And Dustin Hoffman finally leaves, because I’m saying I don’t want to go to the hotel,” Riss Gatsiounis said. “And then Murray Schisgal says, ‘Look, we’re not really interested in your play, because it’s too film noir-ish.’ And that was it.”

Hoffman's representatives declined to comment when contacted by Page Six. Schisgal told Variety in a statement: "Dustin Hoffman and I took many meetings with writers and playwrights over many years. I have no recollection of this meeting or of any of the behaviour or actions described."

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