Television writer and producer Wendy Riss Gatsiounis became the second woman to publicly accuse Dustin Hoffman of sexual harassment on Tuesday.
Last week, Anna Graham Hunter, a production assistant on “Death of a Salesman” in 1985, claimed that Hoffman harassed and assaulted her on set when she was 17 years old.
The Hollywood heavy weight is one the most high profile actors in the industry who has hits like ‘The Graduate (1967), Rain Man (1989) and Kramer v Kramer (1979) and has won two Oscars for his supreme performances on screen. And up unitl last week you could have added ‘as one of the most respected… to his introduction, not anymore.
Wendy Gatsiounis was a struggling playwright working a temp job in New York City in 1991 when she got what she hoped would be her big break. Her play “A Darker Purpose” had been given a staged reading at the Public Theatre, and she had scheduled a meeting with Dustin Hoffman and “Tootsie” screenwriter Murray Schisgal to discuss adapting it into a feature film for Hoffman to star in.
Hoffman and Schisgal his wing-man, had their first meeting with wendy and Schisgal began by asking whether she had a boyfriend or husband. Hoffman cut Schisgal off. “Dustin Hoffman was playfully like, ‘Murray, shut up! Don’t you know you can’t talk to women that way anymore? Times are changing,’” Riss Gatsiounis said.
the meeting became more professional. Hoffman and Schisgal asked if Riss Gatsiounis would be willing to rework her pitch for a movie version. Riss Gatsiounis agreed and spent the next three weeks on the rewrite. She then had a second meeting with Hoffman and Schisgal to give them the revised pitch. But she never got to discuss the new idea with them.
Wendy Riss Gatsiounis said that she chose to speak now about her experience with Hoffman and Schisgal in light of the recent allegations to surface against Harvey Weinstein and others in the entertainment industry, including Hoffman, Kevin Spacey and Ben Affleck, and to support other alleged victims who have spoken out.
Hoffman later said in a statement, “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.”
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