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Richard Dreyfuss responds to sexual harassment allegations: 'I am not an assaulter'

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A woman who collaborated with Richard Dreyfuss in the 1980s is alleging the Jaws actor exposed himself to her and made harassing statements about intercourse, claims which he “emphatically deny.”

In an interview with Vulture, Jessica Teich said she experienced the unwanted contact when she worked with Dreyfuss on an ABC comedy special called Funny, You Don’t Look 200: A Constitutional Vaudeville. At the time, Teich was in her mid-20s, she told the website, while Dreyfuss was 12 years older and married with a child.

“I remember walking up the steps into the trailer and turning towards my left,” Teich told Vulture, “and he was at the back of the trailer, and just — his penis was out, and he sort of tried to draw me close to it … He was hard. I remember my face being brought close to his penis. I can’t remember how my face got close to his penis, but I do remember that the idea was that I was going to give him a blow job. I didn’t, and I left.”

In a lengthy statement to Vulture, Dreyfuss responded with the following:

“I value and respect women, and I value and respect honesty. So I want to try to tell you the complicated truth. At the height of my fame in the late 1970s I became an asshole–the kind of performative masculine man my father had modeled for me to be. I lived by the motto, “If you don’t flirt, you die.” And flirt I did. I flirted with all women, be they actresses, producers, or 80-year-old grandmothers. I even flirted with those who were out of bounds, like the wives of some of my best friends, which especially revolts me. I disrespected myself, and I disrespected them, and ignored my own ethics, which I regret more deeply than I can express. During those years I was swept up in a world of celebrity and drugs – which are not excuses, just truths. Since then I have had to redefine what it means to be a man, and an ethical man. I think every man on Earth has or will have to grapple with this question. But I am not an assaulter.

I emphatically deny ever ‘exposing’ myself to Jessica Teich, whom I have considered a friend for 30 years. I did flirt with her, and I remember trying to kiss Jessica as part of what I thought was a consensual seduction ritual that went on and on for many years. I am horrified and bewildered to discover that it wasn’t consensual. I didn’t get it. It makes me reassess every relationship I have ever thought was playful and mutual.”

Reps for Dreyfuss did not immediately reply to EW’s request for comment.

RELATED VIDEO: Richard Dreyfuss’ Son Harry Claims He Was ‘Groped’ by Kevin Spacey as a Teen

Dreyfuss and his family recently made headlines in the midst of the Kevin Spacey sexual harassment allegations after his son Harry claimed Spacey ‘groped’ him when he was a teen and his father was in the same room. ““I love my son @harrydreyfuss more than I could explain with all the words in the world,” Dreyfuss said in a tweet after Harry told his story to Buzzfeed. “And I am so incredibly proud of him right now.”

Read the complete story at Vulture.com.

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