Dustin Hoffman accused of assaulting two more women, exposing himself to a minor
Last month, writer Anna Graham Hunter accused legendary actor Dustin Hoffman of sexual harassment. It happened when she was only 17 years old, a senior in high school, working as a production assistant on the set of Death of a Salesman. Hoffman allegedly asked her for a foot massage, grabbed her ass multiple times, and joked that for breakfast, "I'll have a hard-boiled egg … and a soft-boiled clitoris." Movie fans were shocked at the icon's behavior, but not shocked his stand-up comedy career never took off.
A couple weeks ago, Last Week Tonight host John Oliver grilled Hoffman about his sexual assault allegations during a panel for the 20th anniversary of Wag The Dog. (In addition to Hunter, Hoffman's The Graduate co-star, Katharine Ross, accused him of groping her during a screen test.) The confrontation grew extremely tense. Hoffman defended his behavior as typical of a movie set, claimed his actions were "not reflective" of who he was, and questioned whether or not the incidents really happened. Meanwhile, Oliver, kept pressing, saying he "didn't like" those responses.
Now, in what has become a familiar part of the news cycle, three more women have come forward to accuse the 80-year-old actor of sexual misconduct. In a report published by Variety, they tell their stories.
Cori Thomas met Dustin Hoffman in 1980, when she was 16 years old. She went to high school with Hoffman's daughter, Karina, and they became friends. As an aspiring actress, Thomas was thrilled to spend a Sunday afternoon with Karina and her father, who she considered "her idol." The three went for a walk in Manhattan, and ate dinner at a restaurant on the Upper East Side.
The plan was for Thomas' mom and dad (who was a U.N. ambassador to Liberia) to pick her up at the restaurant. Instead, Hoffman suggested her parents pick her up at his hotel. (His apartment was being renovated, so he was staying at a hotel nearby) When the three of them arrived at the hotel, Hoffman sent his daughter home. Then he went to the bathroom, came out only wearing a towel, and dropped it.
"I think I almost collapsed, actually," says Thomas. "It was the first time I had ever seen a naked man. I was mortified. I didn’t know what to do."
A second woman, Melissa Kester, met Dustin Hoffman while he was recording vocal tracks for the 1987 movie Ishtar. Kester was a recent college graduate, dating a guy who worked on music for the film. Her boyfriend invited her to come down to the Malibu studio to check out the recording sessions.
During one visit, Hoffman was in the isolation booth, waiting for the men in the control room to make technical adjustments. "Send Melissa in," Hoffman said. "I'm bored." In the studio, everyone would often joke around. People would be flirtatious, but in an innocent way. That is, until Kester joined Hoffman inside the booth. There was a window between the isolation booth and the control the room, but the two could only be seen from the waist up.
“He literally just stuck his fingers down my pants,” Kester said. “He put his fingers inside me. And the thing I feel most bad about is I didn’t know what to do. I just stood there. I just froze in the situation like ‘Oh my god, what is happening?’ It’s shocking when that happens to you.”
Hoffman kept his fingers inside Kester for "fifteen to twenty seconds" - until he was finished with the take. (And he did this while her boyfriend was in the other room!) Afterward, “he kind of laughed,” said Kester. “Then I just ran out of there, and I sat in the bathroom crying."
A third woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, says she met Dustin Hoffman on the set of Ishtar, when she was 22. She had a non-speaking role in a nightclub scene, and Hoffman introduced himself, saying "You're a real actress, aren't you?" A week later, Hoffman invited her to visit the set on the last day of filming. They hung out at the wrap party, and when it was over, they all piled into a station wagon. Hoffman suggested they sit in the back. She was wearing a skirt.
“There are people inches from us,” said the woman. “And he just took his hand and stuck his fingers right up inside of me. I didn’t know what to do. He’s smiling at me. I was frozen. I was outside of my body... There were people there. What are they going to think of me [if say no], that I’m a whore, if a say something? What would I say? He's Dustin Hoffman."
The woman says that the alleged assault from Hoffman triggered memories of childhood abuse, leading her to feel like she was in “a kind of fugue state.” They dropped her off, and Hoffman gave her twenty bucks, telling her to meet him at his hotel. When she arrived, Hoffman was waiting outside. He took her up to his room, where she claims he performed oral sex on her, and then they had intercourse. Variety asked her if this was consensual. "I don't know," she replied.
Dustin Hoffman denies these allegations. While he didn't personally respond to the report, his legal representatives wrote a letter to Variety, and called them "defamatory falsehoods."
Time will tell if Hoffman decides to respond further, or if any more women will come forward for their story. But we can safely assume the actor won't be doing any panels hosted by John Oliver anytime soon.