A Fourth Woman Has Accused Dustin Hoffman of Sexual Harassment
In the wake of his denials, another woman has gone on the record — actor Kathryn Rossetter is accusing Dustin Hoffman of sexual harassment. Although she doesn't use the word "assault", Rossetter describes allegedly being groped and humiliated by her costar during eight performances a week throughout Death of a Salesman's Broadway run in 1984. (Bustle reached out to Hoffman's rep for comment, but did not receive an immediate response. Hoffman has yet to respond to his former costar's claims, but responded to similar claims of groping from author Anna Graham Hunter with an apology, claiming, "It is not reflective of who I am.")
Rossetter is the fourth woman to level such accusations at the 80-year-old actor, and she made her accusations public in the form of a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter, published on Friday. In it, she describes a wide range of alleged behavior that she claims began with groping and escalated to nonconsensual digital penetration in the wings of the theater, as she waited by a microphone for her cue.
Rossetter claims that this behavior began during rehearsals in 1983, with Hoffman allegedly inviting her to his hotel room and allegedly asking for a massage, and extended throughout the four months of performances. During that time, she claims Hoffman repeatedly summoned her to his dressing room to give him foot massages, allegedly groped her when they posed for photographs together, and once allegedly exposed her bare breasts and body to crew members backstage, causing her to miss one of her cues.
Thus far, THR reported that Hoffman's reps have been unwilling to answer questions about the allegations. Instead, they have allegedly directed reporters to other cast and crew members from Death of a Salesman who have disputed Rossetter's accounts in his place. These people who claim never to have witnessed any inappropriate behavior include understudies Anne McIntosh and Andrew Bloch, Debra Mooney, and Linda Hogan, neither of whose name is listed on Playbill in connection with the show's staged version, and original cast member Michael Quinlan.
Hoffman's team also pointed reporters in the direction of Lee Gottsegen, the actor's brother-in-law and a former official within his company, and Death of a Salesman stage manager Tom Kelly, who stated, "It just doesn’t ring true. Given my position, it’s insulting to say this kind of activity would go on to the extent of sexual violation."
Insulting or not, Rossetter's account does match details shared by Hoffman's previous accusers. Anna Graham Hunter claimed sexual harassment on the set of the Death of a Salesman TV movie including alleged foot massages, alleged groping, and alleged inappropriate comments. She was 17 at the time. (Hoffman responded that he feels "terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation." Later, however, he backtracked, stating, "It didn't happen the way she reported," and purported not to know the author, claiming, "I still don't know who this woman is. I never met her.")
According to Variety, Hoffman's second accuser, Wendy Riss Gatsiounis, claims she had two meetings with the actor and a screenwriter named Murray Schisgal in the early 1990s to discuss adapting one of her scripts into a movie. She alleges an inappropriate, sexually-tinged line of questioning in that second meeting. She claims that she had to repeatedly shut down the actor's queries about whether she'd been with a man his age and refused an invitation to travel with him to a nearby hotel. Hoffman and Schisgal did not move forward with Riss Gatsiounis' project. (Hoffman declined to comment to Variety, while Schisgal said, "Dustin Hoffman and I took many meetings with writers and playwrights over many years. I have no recollection of this meeting or of any of the behavior or actions described.")
Hoffman's third accuser was ultimately also his costar; The Graduate star Katharine Ross claims the actor groped her during a screen test for the 1967 film. During an appearance on John Oliver's show, he referred to the incident as "skewed."
Overall, that makes four women accusing the actor over a time period spanning two decades. And these are just the allegations of the women who have stayed in the entertainment industry. Probably the greatest tragedy in this long-awaited age of speaking out is that no matter how many stories come to light, we will never know what talents we may have missed out on because of the actions of powerful alleged abusers.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.