After a former production assistant accused Dustin Hoffman of sexually harassing her on the sets of ‘Death of a Salesman’, the director of the telemovie, Volker Schlondorff, has come out defending Hoffman against such allegations.
According to reports, Schlondorff released a statement saying that he has a different memory of Hoffman’s behavior during the production.
In the statement, Schlondorff said Hunter has mis-characterized Hoffman’s behavior, whom he insisted was “a kidder” on the set.
The statement read, “Just watch Christian Blackwood’s wonderful documentary Private Conversations on the making of DOAS to check what a kidder Dustin was on the set, at all time, with everybody.”
“Standard Monday-morning question was, indeed, ‘Did you have good sex over the weekend? A joke, a running gag, everybody laughed at,” it added.
This statement comes after Anna Graham Hunter accused Dustin Hoffman of sexually harassing her, when she was just 17 and interning on the set of the 1985 TV-movie adaptation.
In an op-ed written, Hunter also said that Hoffman asked “me to give him a foot massage my first day on set”.
Responding to this allegation, Schlondorff noted that the foot massages were given to Hoffman because he 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 added.
The groping that Hunter referred to Schlondorff said he never witnessed himself, but assured that if it did happen, there was “nothing lecherous about it. He was teasing the young, nervous interns, mostly to make them feel included on the set, treating them as equals to all the senior technicians.”
Schlondorff claimed that it is irresponsible for Hunter to level these accusations now, and suggests that Hoffman’s behavior was meant to relax her.
He said, “In her innermost she must know that this teasing was not to put her down, but to make her relax with all these celebrities around. She had a self-assured playful way herself. If he knew that she would be upset when he was teasing her, he wouldn’t have done it. Not the sensitive man he was, and still is. I wish Arthur Miller was around, he would find the right words, but then he might get accused of sexually molesting Marilyn Monroe.”
After the allegations, Hoffman issued a statement and apologized to Hunter for “putting her in an uncomfortable situation”.
Hoffman shared, “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.”