Dustin Hoffman denies new sex assault allegations
Two women accuse actor of sexual assault and a third alleges he exposed himself to her when she was a teenager
Dustin Hoffman: accused by three women of sexual misconduct. Photograph: Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images
New allegations of sexual misconduct have surfaced against actor Dustin Hoffman, with two women accusing him of sexual assault and a third alleging that he exposed himself to her in a hotel room when she was a teenager.
Playwright Cori Thomas, a high school friend of Hoffman’s daughter, Karina, claimed that Hoffman exposed himself to her in a hotel room after a Sunday afternoon outing in Manhattan with the Hoffman family when she was 16 years old, according to an article published in Variety on Thursday.
Hoffman was in the midst of divorcing his first wife, Anne Byrne, and had been staying at a hotel nearby to the house that he had shared with Byrne, and where Karina still lived. After dinner, Karina, Hoffman and Thomas waited at Hoffman’s hotel room for Thomas’ parents to pick her up, but before they arrived, Karina went home to finish her homework, leaving Thomas alone with Hoffman, Thomas said.
Thomas said she was “sitting there waiting for her parents” when Hoffman emerged from the bathroom wearing nothing but a towel, “which he dropped”.
“He was standing there naked,” Thomas said. “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.”
Hoffman then put on a bathrobe and asked Thomas to massage his feet, Thomas said. “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?’,” Thomas said. She said she was “saved” by the phone ringing to let her know her mother had arrived to pick her up.
A second woman, Melissa Kester, said she “felt like she’d been raped” after Hoffman allegedly assaulted her during a recording session for the songs in the film Ishtar.
Kester, who was dating a man who was working on the music for the film, had accompanied her boyfriend to a number of recording sessions at the Malibu studio. She said that during one of the sessions Hoffman seemed to be struggling with his vocals, and he apparently jokingly insisted she come into the recording booth with him.
“He was like, ‘Send Melissa in here. I’m bored. Send Melissa in here’,” Kester said.
“He may have been being flirtatious, but it wasn’t to the point of being obscene, because my boyfriend’s there. Then they get ready to do another take. I’m standing there, and it’s kind of a small room, and he grabs me, so we’re both facing out so we’re both facing the people in the studio. I’m thinking that it’s kind of flirtatious and funny, like he’s holding onto me, because I’m going to help him sing better. I felt awkward. It’s a little weird. He’s hugging me while he’s singing. But ha ha ha, it’s all a joke. My boyfriend is right there.”
They were only partly visible to the technicians in the control room – one of whom was Ketser’s boyfriend. “He literally just stuck his fingers down my pants,” Kester said. “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.”
Ketser said she tried not to react because she didn’t want her boyfriend or the other technician to know what was happening. She said Hoffman removed his hand when the take finished, and “kind of laughed”.
“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,” she said.
Kester said Hoffman repeatedly attempted to get in touch afterwards but she told him to stop calling her.
A third woman, who remains anonymous, has claimed that Hoffman assaulted her during the making of Ishtar, in a non-consensual encounter in the back of a vehicle on the way home from the film’s wrap party, which was later followed by a consensual sexual encounter in Hoffman’s hotel room.
The allegations against the Oscar-winning actor follow those from Anna Graham Hunter, Wendy Riss Gatsiounis, and Kathryn Rossetter, who have all accused the now-80-year-old of unwanted sexual advances, with Hunter and Rossetter also accusing the actor of sexual assault. Hoffman initially apologised to Hunter, and later to Rossetter, saying he felt “terribly” and that the allegations were “not reflective of who I am”.
Hoffman has not personally responded to the new allegations, but his legal representatives said in a letter to Variety that the accusations were “defamatory falsehoods”.
The allegations against Hoffman are only the most recent in a wave of claims about sexual misconduct by Hollywood heavyweights over the past few months, including producer Harvey Weinstein, actor Kevin Spacey, and directors Brett Ratner and James Toback. – Guardian Service