Dustin Hoffman accused by former co-star of repeated sexual assault

Catherine Gee
Kathryn Rossetter has accused Dustin Hoffman of regularly groping and harassing her - Invision

A former co-star of the Hollywood actor of Dustin Hoffman has accused him of "nightly sexual harassment". 

The actress Kathryn Rossetter has claimed that when she and Dustin Hoffman appeared together in the 1984 Broadway production of Death of a Salesman, and after the two appeared in a TV adaptation of the play the following year, he regularly groped and sexually harassed her. 

In a first-person piece in the Hollywood Reporter, Rossetter alleges that Hoffman would put his hands up her costume, touching her thighs, despite many requests for him to stop, and ask her for massages.

The accusations come a month after author Anna Graham Hunter claimed that Hoffman repeatedly groped her when she was a 17-year-old intern on the set of the 1985 TV movie of Death of a Salesman, and TV writer Wendy Riss Gatsiounis said that he sexually propositioned her during a professional meeting. 

After Graham Hunter's allegations were published in the Hollywood Reporter, Hoffman issued a statement, saying: “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.”

Dustin Hoffman with Kathryn Rossetter in Death of a Salesman Credit: Alamy 

In the article, Rossetter, details nightly encounters with Hoffman, after he was instrumental in securing the aspiring actress the role of Willy Loman’s mistress, "the Woman In Boston".

During the production, Rossetter writes, one scene would require her to stand in the small space in the wings and laugh into a microphone. Her costume was "a vintage slip, no bra, garter belt and stockings". Behind her was a chair for Hoffman to sit between scenes.

"One night in Chicago, I felt his hand up under my slip on the inside of my thighs," she writes. "I was completely surprised and tried to bat him away while watching the stage for my cues. After the show he was busy with the producer and director so I had no access to him to address it. It then happened almost every show. Six to eight shows a week. I couldn’t speak to him in the moment because I was on a live mic. He kept it up and got more and more aggressive. One night he actually started to stick his fingers inside me. Night after night I went home and cried."

Dustin Hoffman and his wife Lisa Hoffman Credit: Getty 

On another occasion she claims that he assembled some of the crew in the space for a "surprise". "Suddenly he grabs the bottom of my slip and pulls it up over my head, exposing my breasts and body to the crew and covering my face," she says.

Rossetter also claims how, when they were asked to pose for pictures, Hoffman would regularly grab her breast then remove his hand immediately before the photograph was taken. At other times he would send his dresser to find her and bring her to his dressing room where he would ask for massages. 

"I considered reporting him to Actors Equity," she writes. "But I was cautioned by some respected theatre professionals that if I did, I would probably lose my job and, because he was such a powerful star, any hope of a career." 

The Hollywood Reporter says in the article that they contacted Hoffman's representatives, who declined to comment. But that his lawyers had put the publication in touch with several people who were also part of the theatre production. 

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"Those people include Hoffman’s brother-in-law Lee Gottsegen, actresses Anne McIntosh, Debra Mooney and Linda Hogan, actors Michael Quinlan and Andrew Bloch, and production stage manager Tom Kelly," a note below the article states. "'It just doesn’t ring true,' says Kelly. 'Given my position, it’s insulting to say this kind of activity would go on to the extent of sexual violation.'"

The Telegraph has also approached Hoffman's representatives for comment.

Earlier this week, Hoffman was publicly confronted about the claims that Graham Hunter had made, during a Q&A panel for the 20th anniversary of the film Wag the Dog, by British TV host John Oliver, who felt that his apology had been insufficient.

Hoffman, however, became irritated, defending himself and asked of Oliver, "Do you believe this stuff that you're reading?". He also claimed that he did not know who Graham Hunter was.