Wendy Riss Gatsiounis, producer of National Geographic’s show Genius, has accused actor Dustin Hoffman of sexual harassment in a statement to Variety. Riss Gatsiounis, who is now the second woman to accuse the actor of sexual misconduct, said that the incident took place in 1991, when she met Hoffman and screenwriter Murray Schisgal to discuss a feature film adaptation of her play A Darker Purpose.
According to Riss Gatsiounis, the Oscar-award winning actor Hoffman, who was 53 years old then, asked her if she had ever “been intimate” with a man who was older than 40. “I’ll never forget – he moves back, he opens his arms, and he says, ‘It would be a whole new body to explore,” Riss Gatsiounis told Variety. She was later asked to accompany the actor on a shopping trip by Hoffman and Schisgal, but she said she declined the offer. “The whole thing was just a source of torment for me,” Riss Gatsiounis said. “I was just this writer and he had been my hero, and it stayed with me for a long time.”
Hoffman was earlier accused of sexually harassing writer Anna Graham Hunter in 1985, when she was 17, on the sets of television movie Death of a Salesman. The actor later apologised to Hunter, who had written a guest column in The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday detailing the incident.
In response t othe allegations, Hoffman, now 80, said in a 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.”
Riss Gatsiounis said that she chose to speak now about her experience in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and several others, including director James Toback, former Amazon Studio President Roy Price, filmmaker Brett Ratner and actor Kevin Spacey.