Actor Dustin Hoffman is facing new accusations of sexual misconduct.
In a Variety story published Thursday, two women accuse Hoffman of sexual assault and a third woman says he exposed himself to her in a hotel room. Mark A. Neubauer of Carlton Fields Jordan Burt called the accusations against the actor "defamatory falsehoods" in a letter to Variety’s owner, Penske Media Corp. Hoffman most recently appeared in The Meyerowitz Stories, which was released on Netflix earlier this year.
Hoffman has been a household name since his breakthrough role in 1967's The Graduate. He has won two Academy Awards—for his best actor roles in 1980's Kramer vs. Kramer and 1989's Rain Man—and has been nominated for an additional five Oscars. He's also been nominated for 13 Golden Globes and has won six. His career has earned him an estimated net worth of $50 million.
The disturbing allegations of the last few months came as a shock to many who were fans of the actor. The Variety story reveals that Cori Thomas, who was a high-school classmate of Hoffman’s daughter Karina and is now a playwright, says that in 1980 she and Hoffman were alone in a hotel room where he was staying while she waited for her parents to pick her up after Karina had left. Thomas was 16 at the time.
In the Variety report, Thomas says Hoffman went to the bathroom and emerged "with a towel at first wrapped around him, which he dropped." She says he then asked her to massage his feet, and she complied. "I didn’t know what to do in the circumstance," she says. "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?'"
Melissa Kester was a recent college graduate when she says Hoffman assaulted her as he was recording audio for the film Ishtar. Kester's boyfriend at the time was working on the music for the film and invited her to the studio, and she says that during one visit when she joined Hoffman in the recording booth "he literally just stuck his fingers down my pants."
"He kind of laughed," she says. "Then I just ran out of there, and I sat in the bathroom crying. I thought, 'Oh my God.' I felt like I’d been raped. There was no warning. I didn’t know he would do that."
A third woman who asked to remain anonymous alleges that Hoffman also assaulted her while working on Ishtar. Hoffman, she says, approached her on the set and invited her to lunch. Later, following the film's wrap party, she says Hoffman offered to give her a ride home in a station wagon operated by a different driver.
Dustin Hoffman in Ishtar
She says that the two climbed into the back of the car, "and he just took his hand and stuck his fingers right up inside of me. I didn’t know what to do. He’s smiling at me. I was frozen. I was outside of my body."
"There were people there," she says. "What are they going to think of me, that I’m a whore
John Malkovich and Dustin Hoffman in 1985's The Death of a Salesman.
These allegations follow ones made earlier this year by three women: Anna Graham Hunter, a production assistant on Death of a Salesman, who says Hoffman harassed and assaulted her on set in 1985 when she was 17; actress Kathryn Rossetter, who wrote that Hoffman groped and assaulted her on the Broadway production of Death of a Salesman; and Wendy Riss Gatsiounis, a producer of the National Geographic series Genius, who says Hoffman propositioned her during a pitch meeting when she was in her 20s and he was 53.
Hoffman responded to Graham Hunter's allegations with this statement: "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." And in early December, he and HBO host John Oliver got into a heated argument about the allegations and Hoffman's response to them during a Q&A at a screening of Hoffman's film Wag the Dog.
Lisa Hoffman, Dustin Hoffman, and daughter Becky Hoffman at the Lincoln Center in 2005.
Since 1980, Hoffman has been married to Lisa Gottsegen. The couple has four children. He was previously married to Anne Byrne from 1969 to 1980, and he reportedly adopted a daughter, Karina, who was Byrne's child from a previous marriage. Byrne gave birth to another daughter, Jenna, in 1970.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.