Volker Schlöndorff, the director of Death of a Salesman, has responded to Anna Graham Hunter’s claims that Dustin Hoffman sexually harassed her on the set of the 1985 TV adaption.
As previously reported, Hunter accused Hoffman of sexually harassing her when she was 17 and interned as a production assistant on the set of Death of a Salesman. Hunter alleged in a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter published on Wednesday, November 1, that Hoffman made unwanted sexual advances towards her and made vulgar statements, including “I’ll have a hard-boiled egg … and a soft-boiled clitoris.” The Los Angeles-based writer also said that Hoffman requested she give him a foot massage on her first day on set, which she did.
Schlöndorff, 78, defended Hoffman in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, saying that Hunter’s account was a mischaracterization and that calling the actor a predator is “going too far.” The filmmaker also insisted Hoffman was known as a “kidder” on set and justified the request to have his feet rubbed by explaining that it wasn’t unusual because the actor was on his feet for 16 hours at a time: “Everybody gave him a foot massage now and then, on the set, amidst the chaos, nothing ambiguous about it.”
He also says of Hoffman, “If [Dustin] knew that she would be upset when he was teasing her, he wouldn’t have done it.”
In response to the allegations, the two-time Oscar winner told The Hollywood Reporter, “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.”
Since Hunter’s account became public, screenwriter Wendy Riss Gatsiounis has also come forward with her own allegation of sexual misconduct against Hoffman. In a post published by Variety on Wednesday, Gatsiounis alleged that during a meeting with Hoffman in 1991, he propositioned her.