UPDATE (November 7): A representative for Meryl Streep says the claims in the resurfaced interview are not an “accurate rendering of that meeting.” According to the rep: “There was an offense and it is something for which Dustin apologized. And Meryl accepted that.”
In the past week, two women have publicly accused Dustin Hoffman of sexual harassment, allegations which have renewed interest in Meryl Streep’s nearly-four-decade-old claim that her “Kramer vs. Kramer” co-star introduced himself by grabbing her breast. Slate tracked down a Time article from 1979 — the year the film came out — in which Streep recalls auditioning for a play Hoffman was directing. “He came up to me and said, ‘I’m Dustin — burp — Hoffman,’ and he put his hand on my breast,” the actress told Time. “What an obnoxious pig, I thought.”
Per Jeff Lenburg’s 2001 book “Dustin Hoffman: Hollywood’s Antihero,” the play was “All Over Town,” which debuted on Broadway in late 1974, when Streep was 25. Later that decade, the actors notoriously battled on Robert Benton’s “Kramer vs. Kramer” set, where they played divorcing parents. In Vanity Fair-excerpted “Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep,” author Michael Schulman wrote that Hoffman escalated their fight scenes by slapping Streep and taunting her about her recently-deceased boyfriend, John Cazale.
In the piece, film executive Richard Fischoff remembered that Streep went “absolutely white,” with author Schulman writing that “she had done her work and thought through the part. And if Dustin wanted to use Method techniques like emotional recall, he should use them on himself. Not her.”
“Kramer vs. Kramer” eventually won Best Picture, plus Oscars for Hoffman, Streep, and Benson.
Hoffman, now 80, was previously accused of sexually harassing writers Wendy Riss Gatsiounis — who says in 1991, Hoffman invited her to his hotel after inquiring, “Have you ever been intimate with a man over 40?” — and Anna Graham Hunter. While Graham Hunter was a 17-year-old intern on Hoffman’s TV movie “Death of a Salesman” (1985), she wrote in The Hollywood Reporter that Hoffman groped her repeatedly and dictated mealtime orders such as “Your left breast,” and “A hard-boiled egg…and a soft-boiled clitoris.”
Currently starring in “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)” on Netflix, Hoffman made his first public appearance following Gatsiounis and Graham Hunter’s charges on November 5, presenting a Hollywood Film Award to Adam Sandler, his onscreen son in that film and 2014’s “The Cobbler.” LA Times film writer Amy Kaufman tweeted that Hoffman did not take the opportunity to address the accusations.