Wendy Riss Gatsiounis, a producer for the Amazon series Genius, revealed that the actor Dustin Hoffman harassed her in 1991. The playwright told Variety that the incident occurred when Hoffman reached out about adapting her play A Darker Purpose into a film. During a meeting with Hoffman and Tootsie screenwriter Murray Schisgal, Hoffman asked Riss Gatsiounis if she'd ever been "intimate" with an older man.
“[Hoffman] says, ‘Before you start, let me ask you one question, Wendy — have you ever been intimate with a man over 40?'” Riss Gatsiounis recalled. "I’ll never forget — he moves back, he opens his arms, and he says, ‘It would be a whole new body to explore.'"
Hoffman then asked if she would go shopping with him at a nearby hotel. Schisgal allegedly encouraged Riss Gatsiounis to go with Hoffman. At this point, Riss Gatsiounis had spent three weeks revising A Darker Purpose, which debuted as a staged reading at the Public Theater. The play was about a 20-something, and she'd been asked to write it for Hoffman, who was well beyond his 20s at that time.
Riss Gatsiounis refused to go shopping with Hoffman. After a while, Hoffman left. Schisgal dismissed her, saying that the script was too "film noir" for him anyway.
Riss Gatsiounis called her agent Mary Meagher, who reassured her that the meeting was not her fault. "[My agent] said that she didn’t want me to think that it was something I had done,” Riss Gatsiounis said. “She had heard rumors about him for years.” (Variety notes that Meagher died in 2006.)
This is the second woman to come forward with allegations against Hoffman. In an essay for The Hollywood Reporter, actress Anna Graham Hunter accused Hoffman of harassing her on the set of Death of a Salesman (1985).
"He was openly flirtatious, he grabbed my ass, he talked about sex to me and in front of me," Hunter wrote. "One morning, I went to his dressing room to take his breakfast order; he looked at me and grinned, taking his time. Then he said, 'I'll have a hard-boiled egg… and a soft-boiled clitoris.' His entourage burst out laughing. I left, speechless. Then I went to the bathroom and cried."
Hoffman released the following statement in response: "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."
Refinery29 has reached out to representation for Hoffman for comment on the recent allegations.
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