Dustin Hoffman faces fresh allegations of sexual misconduct from another female accuser, the third in a little more than a month.
Kathryn Rossetter wrote in an essay published by The Hollywood Reporter on Friday that the alleged incidents began while the two starred together in a Broadway revival of Death of a Salesman in 1983. Hoffman played main character Willy Loman, while she played his mistress.
Hoffman's reps declined to comment. Several other people who worked on Death of a Salesman—Hoffman's brother-in-law and then-assistant Lee Gottsegen, and actors Anne McIntosh, Debra Mooney and Linda Hogan, Michael Quinlan and Andrew Bloch, and production stage manager Tom Kelly—did not recall witnessing any of the conduct Rossetter described and questioned her account, The Hollywood Reporter said. Kelly told the outlet, "Given my position, it's insulting to say this kind of activity would go on to the extent of sexual violation."
Rossetter said that he allegedly began to put his hand under her slip on the inside of her thighs while they waiting in the wings during almost every show and then "got more and more aggressive."
"One night he actually started to stick his fingers inside me," she wrote. "Night after night I went home and cried."
kathrynrossetter.com; AP Images
She cited more examples of alleged sexual misconduct. She said that at after parties, he would grab her breast as they would pose for photos together and then drop his hand before the shots were taken. She said she has one picture "where the camera caught him in the act." A photo of the two posing while embracing, with Hoffman cupping her breast and her smiling, was posted by the Hollywood Reporter.
"Everyone around always laughed when he did this," she wrote. "Everyone standing around laughing worked for him."
She said that Hoffman also allegedly pulled her slip over her head and exposed her breasts and body to the crew while she was backstage. She said he told the people to "come backstage at that time for a surprise." She said the prank made her miss her cue and that she was reprimanded for it.
She said she confronted Hoffman one day about his behavior towards her.
"I pushed Dustin up against the wall screaming, 'F--k you! How would you like it if someone did that to you before you walked out on stage every night, Mr. Method Actor? Leave me alone!'" she wrote. "He did...for three days. And then it was back to groping as usual."
Rossetter said she considered reporting Hoffman to the Actors Equity labor union but was cautioned by some "respected theatre professionals" that she would probably lose her job if she did.
The two reprised their roles in a TV movie, which was released in 1985. Rossetter said in her essay that at a screening, she and another female cast member were asked to pose for a photo with Hoffman. She said he stood between them and grabbed their breasts.
"Without thinking, a knee-jerk response built up over two years, I grabbed his crotch," she wrote. "How would he like some of his own medicine?"
She said she was "terrified and humiliated" and feared "horrible repercussions." She said months later, she saw a photo of the three in Playboy, showing her grabbing Hoffman's crotch.
In November, a woman named Anna Graham Hunter wrote in a Hollywood Reporter essay that Hoffman sexually harassed her when she was a 17-year-old intern on the Death of a Salesman TV movie. The actor responded at the time, "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."
Also in November, producer and playwright Wendy Riss Gatsiounis told Variety that Hoffman sexually harassed her in 1991 when she was in her 20s, after the two met with a screenwriter to talk about adapting her script into a movie. She said Hoffman asked her if she had ever been intimate with a man over 40, telling her, "It would be a whole new body to explore."
She also said he allegedly asked her to go with him to a nearby hotel to do some clothing shopping and that she declined. She did not end up working with him.
His spokesperson declined to comment. Screenwriter Murray Schisgal told Variety, "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 behavior or actions described."
The allegations against Hoffman come amid a rise of public discourse about sexual assault and harassment and growing accusations of sexual misconduct against powerful men, such as producer Harvey Weinstein. Earlier this week, Time magazine named the "silence-breakers," anonymous and non-anonymous, as its Person of the Year.
Earlier this week, Last Week Tonight host John Oliver put Hoffman on the spot at a Wag the Dog 20th anniversary Q&A event, asking him about Hunter's allegation and his response to it.
"It's that part of the response to this stuff that pisses me off," the HBO host said. "It is reflective of who you were. You've given no evidence to show that it didn't happen."
"You've put me on display here. You have indicted me," Hoffman later told him. "That's not innocent until proven guilty."