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- Actress Kathryn Rossetter has accused Dustin Hoffman of groping her while the two acted in a Broadway revival of “Death of a Salesman” in 1983.
- Rossetter said it was “a horrific, demoralizing and abusive experience at the hands (literally) of one of my acting idols.”
- Rossetter said Hoffman asked her for a back rub which led to him groping her off stage in the middle of almost every show.
On Friday, the trade ran the account of actress Kathryn Rossetter, who worked alongside Hoffman in the Broadway revival production of “Death of a Salesman” in 1983 as well as the TV movie. Hoffman played the lead Willy Loman.
Rossetter alleges in the column that after Hoffman went out of his way to campaign for Rossetter to get the role of Willy Loman’s mistress, “the Woman in Boston,” he began to physically violate her throughout the production. She says it started during the first week of rehearsals when Hoffman invited Rossetter to his hotel room. There he asked her to give him a back rub. He took off his shirt, according to Rossetter, and she gave him what she called a “very lame rub” until the hotel maid walked in on them.
“That was the beginning of what was to become a horrific, demoralizing and abusive experience at the hands (literally) of one of my acting idols,” Rossetter wrote in the THR column.
The actress performed alongside Hoffman six to eight shows a week, and in that time, she claimed the actor would fondle and grope her off stage “almost every show.”
“One night in Chicago, I felt his hand up under my slip on the inside of my thighs,” Rossetter wrote. “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.”
“One night he actually started to stick his fingers inside me,” she wrote. “Night after night I went home and cried. I withdrew and got depressed and did not have any good interpersonal relationships with the cast. How could the same man who fought to get me the job, who complimented my work, who essentially launched my career, who gave me the benefit of his wisdom as an actor, how could he also be this sexual power abuser? Was I doing something? Was it my fault?”
And it didn’t stop when the shows ended. At parties, Rossetter said that whenever Hoffman took a picture with her he would put his hand around her rib cage and then grab her breast just before the picture was taken.
“Only by luck do I have one such picture – where the camera caught him in the act,” Rossetter wrote. That picture is included in the THR column.
Here it is:
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) December 8, 2017
The groping off stage continued. One night, Rossetter said she missed her laugh cue because while groping her, Hoffman suddenly grabbed the bottom of her slip and pulled it over her head, exposing her breaks and body to the crew, which Rossetter claims Hoffman told to come backstage at that moment “for a surprise.”
Rossetter said she finally got her chance to confront Hoffman one night, she pushed him against a wall and screamed, “F— you! How would you like it if someone did that to you before you walked out on stage every night, Mr. Method Actor? Leave me alone!” Rossetter said he left her alone for three days, and then went back to groping her.
Hoffman issued a statement regarding the previous accusers, stating: “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.”
The actor was then confronted by HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver at a benefit screening of “Wag the Dog” on Monday about the first allegation against him. A woman alleged that when she was 17 years old and a production assistant on the set of the “Death of a Salesman” TV movie, Hoffman groped and sexually harassed her.
“I still don’t know who this woman is,” Hoffman told Oliver. “I never met her. If I met her, it was in concert with other people.”
Rossetter ended her THR column by writing about Hoffman: “He robbed me of my joy in the experience and he left dirty fingerprints on my soul.”
According to THR’s editor’s note in the column, Hoffman’s representatives declined to comment but brought forth individuals who worked on “Death of a Salesman” and did not witness the conduct described in the column. The people who came forward include Hoffman’s brother-in-law (and assistant at the time) Lee Gottsegen, actresses Anne McIntosh, Debra Mooney and Linda Hogan, actors Michael Quinlan and Andrew Bloch, and production stage manager Tom Kelly.
“It just doesn’t ring true,” Kelly said of Rossetter’s accusations. “Given my position, it’s insulting to say this kind of activity would go on to the extent of sexual violation.”
Business Insider contacted Dustin Hoffman’s representative for comment but did not get a response.