Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman faces accusations of sexual misconduct from eight women.
The first woman to come forward was Anna Graham Hunter, who wrote a first-hand account of the incident in a peice for The Hollywood Reporter on November 1. Next was “Genius” producer Wendy Riss Gatsiounis, followed by actress Kathryn Rossetter.
On Thursday, five additional women came forward with stories alleging that Hoffman sexually assaulted them: Cori Thomas, Melissa Kester, a woman named Pauline who preferred to withhold her last name, a woman The Hollywood Reporter has given the name ‘Carolyn’ (not her real name), and one additional accuser who has chosen to remain anonymous.
Read on to learn about each of the women.
Anna Graham Hunter
Writer Anna Graham Hunter alleges that in 1985, when she was just 17, Hoffman made crude and obscene comments towards her, and even grabbed her inappropriately. At the time, Hunter was working as a PA (production assistant) on the set of Death of a Salesman.
While on set, Hunter wrote letters detailing her encounters with Hoffman to her sister. An excerpt dated January 31, 1985, reads, “Today, when I was walking Dustin to his limo, he felt my ass four times. I hit him each time, hard, and told him he was a dirty old man. He took off his hat and pointed to his head (shaved for the part) and said, ‘No, I’m a dirty young man, I have a full head of hair.’ So would Bob have fired me if he’d seen me hit Dustin?”
Another time, Hunter says she went to Hoffman’s dressing room to take his breakfast order. He allegedly told her, “I’ll have a hard-boiled egg … and a soft-boiled clitoris,” before bursting into laughter.
Today, Hunter works as an executive coach, management consultant, and career transition expert. She is the Chief Coach and Cofounder at ArcVida, a company that “gives young professionals the personalized tools and support they need to launch a fulfilling successful career.” Prior to that, Hunter worked as a Career Happiness Coach at Anna Hunter, Inc.
Wendy Riss Gatsiounis
On November 1, Wendy Riss Gatsiounis came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Hoffman. Gatsiounis works as a producer on the National Geographic series, Genius.
Gatsiounis was a struggling playwright in 1991, when she says the incident occurred. Her play, “A Darker Purpose”, had been given a staged reading at the Public Theater, and Gatsiounis had planned a meeting with Dustin Hoffman and writer Murray Schisgal to discuss adapting it into a feature film.
Gatsiounis says that during the meeting, Hoffman propositioned her and asked that she accompany him to his hotel nearby. She also says that Schisgal “encouraged” her to go with Hoffman. “I’m just completely flustered,” Gatsiounis tells Variety. “I don’t know what to make of this whole thing. And Murray’s like, ‘You can go! It’s okay, go! Go!’”
Hoffman eventually left, without Gatsiounis– she refused his offer a number of times. She tells Variety, “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.”
Gatsiounis has found success as a TV writer. In 2012, she worked as a story editor on 13 episodes of The Killing on A&E. She has also written 14 episodes of the CW’s Reign.
Last week, Kathryn Rossetter, who co-starred in “Death of a Salesman” on Broadway in 1984 and in the TV movie, opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about her experiences with Hoffman.
She says that during the show, Hoffman would wait in the wings of the theater. One night, she says she “felt his hand up under my slip on the inside of my thighs.” Rossetter writes, “One night he actually started to stick his fingers inside me. Night after night I went home and cried. I withdrew and got depressed and did not have any good interpersonal relationships with the cast. How could the same man who fought to get me the job, who complimented my work, who essentially launched my career, who gave me the benefit of his wisdom as an actor, how could he also be this sexual power abuser? Was I doing something? Was it my fault?”
On other occasions, he would call her into his dressing room and demand she rub his feet. “Whenever possible, I hid and tried not to be found. But the boss was relentless. Dustin would whisper, ‘higher, higher,’ trying to get me to move up his pants legs toward his genitals. I didn’t do it. I would stop at his calves.”
Rossetter says she considered reporting Hoffman to Actors Equity, but was dissuaded by professionals in the business who said Dustin was a powerful man in Hollywood.
Rossetter is still a working actress. In 2008, she played Mrs. Dewan in The Unidentified. She has also appeared in three episodes of Law & Order: SVU. Fans may also recognize Rossetter for her role as Miss Barnes in two episodes of Full House in 1994.
Cori Thomas was 16 at the time of the alleged incident. Thomas was a friend of Hoffman’s daughter, Karina, at the United Nations International School in New York when she says she met Hoffman. She is the daughter of former Liberian Ambassador David Thomas.
Thomas tells Variety that the act of sexual misconduct took place on a Sunday afternoon, while she was spending time with Dustin and his daughter. Together, the three visited the Drama Bookshop, Hoffman’s apartment in Central Park West, and then went out to dinner. Thomas says her parents were supposed to pick her up at the restaurant, but Hoffman said they should go back to the hotel he was staying in and leave a note with the maitre d’ saying where they were. Thomas says once they got to the hotel, Karina went off to do homework. Shortly afterwards, Thomas says Hoffman went into the bathroom and turned on the shower.
“He came out of the bathroom with a towel at first wrapped around him, which he dropped. He was standing there naked. I think I almost collapsed, actually. It was the first time I had ever seen a naked man. I was mortified. I didn’t know what to do. And he milked it. He milked the fact that he was naked. He stood there. He took his time.” Thomas says Hoffman eventually sat and asked her to massage his feet. She did so. “I didn’t know what to do in the circumstance… I didn’t know that I could say no, so I did it. And he kept telling me, ‘I’m naked. Do you want to see?’”
Eventually, Thomas’ parents arrived to pick her up. She says she did not share the story with her mother until decades later. “I was humiliated. My mother always had some instinct that something untoward had happened. She kept asking me, and I was so mortified, I never said anything.”
Today, Thomas is a playwright. Her play, When January Feels Like Summer premiered in 2010 and won the American Theater Critics Association’s New Play Award. It was a New York Times Critics Pick. Her other plays include His Daddy, Pa’s Hat: Liberian Legacy, My Secret Language of Wishes, and our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.
Kester says she met Hoffman on the film “Ishtar”. At the time, she was dating a man who was doing music for the film. Kester met Hoffman on a number of occasions– at the music studio where Hoffman was recording music for the movie; watching Hoffman in “Death of a Salesman” at another studio. In a third instance, she was in the studio, and from the other side of glass, Hoffman said, “I’m bored. Send Melissa in here.” Melissa then entered the recording booth– her boyfriend was watching from the other side of the glass.
Kester says Hoffman “literally just suck his fingers down my pants.” She continues, “He put his fingers inside me. And the thing I feel most bad about is I didn’t know what to do. I just stood there. I just froze in the situation like ‘Oh my god, what is happening?’ It’s shocking when that happens to you.” She says she didn’t react because her boyfriend was just on the other side of the glass.
Kester tells Variety she believes the incident lasted 15-20 seconds and when it was over, she left. She shares that she never told her boyfriend about the incident.
According to her LinkedIn, Melissa has her PhD in psychology and works as a video producer.
On Thursday, a woman named Pauline– who did not want to give her last name– stated that she worked at a clothing store in 1973 when she was 15. Pauline says that one Saturday while she was working, Hoffman came in asking for ties and then started asking Pauline questions about herself. He left, but would come back every now and then.
Then, Hoffman invited Pauline to a film screening that she attended with her sister. After dinner that evening, he drove them both home. Not long after, Pauline went to a movie with Hoffman. She says that after the film, she went to his apartment on Central Park West, where Hoffman exposed himself. Pauline tells The Hollywood Reporter, “I’d never even seen a naked man before. I had never seen anything like it. I didn’t know what to say, what to do. I was sitting there eyes wide open. ‘I’ll be finished soon,’ he said. I didn’t even know what to say.”
Pauline claims that Hoffman began to masturbate and then ejaculated. She says she asked if she could leave, at which point he walked her outside and hailed a cab.
A woman who The Hollywood Reporter refers to as Carolyn was 21 and working in DC as a tour guide on a bus when she says Hoffman sexually harassed her.
The year was 1975, and Hoffman was in town shooting All the President’s Men. Carolyn tells the outlet that Hoffman and her spoke; after the tour, his assistant approached her saying that Hoffman wanted to get dinner with her.
That night, she went to the Watergate hotel, where she was sent to Hoffman’s room. She engaged in uncomfortable conversation, after which she said she wanted to go home. Carolyn says Hoffman told her, “Go home? You don’t think you’re getting out of here without having sex, do you?” She says Hoffman gave her two options of sex acts. She chose oral sex, he gave her $20 for a cab, and she left.
A third anonymous accuser who came forward to Variety on Thursday. The woman tells the outlet that while working on the movie “Ishtar”, Hoffman assaulted her. She also says she had another encounter with Hoffman later that was consensual.
The anonymous woman had a non-speaking role in the film. She says a week after shooting her part, Hoffman invited her to set. It was the last day of shooting, and that night, there was a wrap party. The woman says at first, she wanted to leave, but at Hoffman’s request, she stayed. Around 1 am, the women says Hoffman offered to take her home. The station wagon Hoffman intended to take was completely full, so he told the woman they could sit in the very back of the car. The woman says that in the back of the car, Hoffman “just took his hand and stuck his fingers right up inside of me.”
The anonymous accuser says, “There were people there… What are they going to think of me, that I’m a whore, if a say something? What would I say? He’s Dustin Hoffman.” When the car finally came to her apartment, the woman claims Hoffman gave her $20 and told her to come to his home. She says that she did not know what to do and was in a “kind of fugue state.” Eventually, however, she did hail a cab and go to Hoffman’s home, where, she says, they had intercourse.