In an interview with the New York Times that was published on Wednesday, the actress, who played his estranged wife in the 1979 film, was asked about the issue, as well as about recent news about the actor being accused of past sexual misconduct by several women, including former co-stars.
"That was when we were making Kramer vs. Kramer," Streep said about the slap. "This is tricky because when you're an actor, you're in a scene, you have to feel free. I'm sure that I have inadvertently hurt people in physical scenes. But there's a certain amount of forgiveness in that. But this was my first movie, and it was my first take in my first movie, and he just slapped me. And you see it in the movie. It was overstepping. But I think those things are being corrected in this moment. And they're not politically corrected; they're fixed. They will be fixed, because people won't accept it anymore. So that's a good thing."
In New York Times contributor Michael Schulman's 2016 unauthorized biography Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep, he writes that on the second day of filming Kramer vs. Kramer, before the two made their entrance for the opening scene, Hoffman slapped Streep "hard across the cheek, leaving a red mark."
According to the book, whose except was published in Vanity Fair, director Robert Benton "heard the slap and saw Meryl charge into the hallway." She then "went on and acted the scene," the biography said.
Hoffman has not commented.
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In her interview with the New York Times, Streep did not comment on the sexual misconduct allegations made against Hoffman, whose lawyer has called accusations "defamatory falsehoods."
In November, Slate unearthed a 1979 Time magazine interview with Streep, quoting her as saying that while auditioning for a play Hoffman was directing, he introduced himself and touched her breast.
The actress' rep later said the article did not describe an "accurate rendering of that meeting" but added, "There was an offense and it is something for which Dustin apologized. And Meryl accepted that."