Sexual harassment comes in many forms, and not all are as disturbing as being forced to watch Harvey Weinstein jerk off in the shower.
But even when it comes from a charming movie star, getting one’s ass grabbed and feeling obligated to giggle through inappropriate conversations isn’t much better.
That’s the vulgar treatment author Anna Hunter received from Dustin Hoffman when she was working on the set of the film Death of a Salesman at just 17 years old — and to this day, she still feels conflicted about it.
In an op-ed for The Hollywood Reporter, the New York City native recounted the five weeks she spent as a production assistant on the set of the 1985 TV film, and the pig-like behavior she endured from its lead actor.
Sharing her old diary entries, the writer recalled Hoffman grabbing her ass, asking her for foot rubs, inquiring about her sex life, and making revolting sexual jokes while they spent time together on set. She claims he joked one morning:
“I’ll have a hard-boiled egg ├óΓé¼┬ª and a soft-boiled clitoris.”
Ew. And he said that to a minor!
But unlike the more recent accounts of sexual harassment we’ve been hearing about, Hunter makes a point to mention that she “loved the attention” the actor gave her — until he took it too far.
She also notes that once she confronted the Oscar winner, telling him she “didn’t appreciate his wandering hands or his comments,” his behavior stopped — and from there “he was so nice to me I was shocked.” She continues:
“I guess he felt really bad. He was like he is around his wife ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Mr. Paternity.”
It’s awful that the teenager had to scold the movie star just so he would act like a professional adult. In the end, however, Hunter had a complicated opinion about the actor, writing:
“February 20, 1985 No one is 100 percent good or bad. Dustin’s a pig, but I like him a lot.”
Hoffman issued a cookie-cutter statement in response to Hunter’s report, telling the publication:
“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.”
Hmm… not sure we buy it.
Read some of Hunter’s unsettling entries (below) — and head to THR for the full story.
“January 28, 1985 Dustin said to me today, “So, did you have sex over the weekend like I told you?”
“What is this, celibate weekends?”
“Next weekend, OK?”
“No, I’m talking about last weekend. You sure you didn’t?”
“Yes.” I was cracking up.
“Smile if you’re lying.”
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.
Pam* [office assistant] said, “If [producer] Bob Colesberry had heard that, she would have been gone in a second.” I know Dustin would never let that happen, but it’s still scary.
Today, when I was walking Dustin to his limo, he felt my ass four times. I hit him each time, hard, and told him he was a dirty old man. He took off his hat and pointed to his head (shaved for the part) and said, “No, I’m a dirty young man, I have a full head of hair.” So would Bob have fired me if he’d seen me hit Dustin?”
├óΓé¼ΓÇ╣Sadly, there are thousands of naive production assistants who aren’t as bold enough to confront their abusers. We have a feeling their stories are much worse.