For the second time in as many days, Dustin Hoffman has been accused of sexual harassment by a woman who worked with him in the entertainment industry.
On Thursday, Nov. 2, writer and TV producer Wendy Riss Gatsiounis came forward with allegations that the acclaimed 80-year-old actor made a pass at her when she was pitching a project to his production company in 1991. At the time, she was in her 20s and he was 53.
Riss Gatsiounis told Variety that she was a young playwright struggling to get a break in New York when her play, Darker Purpose, landed a staged reading at the Public Theater. Soon after, she met with Hoffman and Murray Schisgal, the screenwriter who penned Tootsie, to discuss the possibility of adapting the play into a feature film.
Riss Gatsiounis said that she had two meetings with Hoffman at his production office in Rockefeller Center and that, during the first encounter, the actor behaved appropriately and even chastised Schisgal for asking her if she had a boyfriend or husband.
“Dustin Hoffman was playfully like, ‘Murray, shut up. Don’t you know you can’t talk to women that way anymore? Times are changing.'”
However, during the second meeting, Riss Gatsiounis said that Hoffman started off by blatantly propositioning her.
“‘Before you start, let me ask you one question, Wendy — have you ever been intimate with a man over 40?'”
Shocked and flustered, Riss Gatsiounis said she tried to laugh it off, but Hoffman pressed on.
“I’ll never forget, he moves back, he opens his arms, and he says, ‘It would be a whole new body to explore.'”
She said that Hoffman then stood up and said he needed to shop for clothes at a local hotel.
“He’s like, ‘Come on, come to this nearby hotel,'” she recalled.
Riss Gatsiounis said she turned down Hoffman’s offer and Schisgal then told her that they weren’t interested in her play because it was “too film noir-ish.”
Riss Gatsiounis, who went on to write for the TV shows like The Killing, Reign, and Genius, said that the encounter filled her with self-doubt for years.
“The whole thing was just a source of torment for me. I was just this writer and he had been my hero, and it stayed with me for a long time.”
On Nov. 1, Anna Graham Hunter wrote a guest column in the Hollywood Reporter accusing Dustin Hoffman of harassing and sexually touching her when she worked as a production assistant on the 1995 TV film, Death of a Salesman. She was just 17-years-old at the time.
The allegations against Dustin Hoffman come after producer Harvey Weinstein, actor Kevin Spacey, directors James Toback and Brett Ratner, and Amazon Studios head Roy Price have all been accused of sexual harassment and/or assault by multiple victims in recent weeks.
[Featured Image by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]