Actress alleges Dustin Hoffman groped her during 1983 Broadway production
In a new essay published by The Hollywood Reporter, actress Kathryn Rossetter alleged Dustin Hoffman repeatedly groped her during the 1983 Broadway revival of Death of a Salesman.
Rossetter, who played the mistress to Hoffman’s Willy Loman in the production, said she idolized Hoffman upon her initial casting opposite him and enjoyed the experience of working with him until he invited her back to his hotel room. He asked for a back rub, she claimed, leading to a pattern of increasingly inappropriate behavior. “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,” she said.
Rossetter alleged that from there Hoffman would behave inappropriately during nearly every performance, at times grabbing her breasts or groping the inside of her thighs. “Six to eight shows a week,” she wrote. “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. I withdrew and got depressed and did not have any good interpersonal relationships with the cast.”
Representatives for Hoffman did not immediately respond to request for comment. Hoffman did not provide a comment to The Hollywood Reporter either, but his lawyers put the publication in touch with a handful people who worked on the Death of a Salesman revival and claimed to not witness the behavior Rossetter described. “It just doesn’t ring true,” production stage manager Tom Kelly said. “Given my position, it’s insulting to say this kind of activity would go on to the extent of sexual violation.”
In her essay, Rossetter added that Hoffman’s groping would also happen at public events and, she claimed, he was “skilled” at avoiding being recorded or seen. One time she retaliated; in “a knee-jerk response built up over two years,” she said, “I grabbed his crotch.” This incident was captured in a photograph and was featured in Playboy magazine with the caption, “Reviving a dead Salesman.”
Rossetter’s accusations are only the latest to be made against Hoffman. Anna Graham Hunter claimed last month that Hoffman groped her and made inappropriate remarks to her in 1985 on the set of the TV film Death of a Salesman. “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,” Hoffman said in a statement. Subsequently, producer Wendy Riss Gatsiounis told Variety that Hoffman propositioned her inappropriately in 1991. (Hoffman had no comment on Gatsiounis’ claims.)
Hoffman, 80, was recently confronted during a Wag the Dog anniversary panel by moderator John Oliver, who expressed dissatisfaction with the actor’s statement — specifically Hoffman’s claim that the allegations made by Hunter were “not reflective of who I am.”
“It feels like dismissals or recontextualizing it is not addressing it: It doesn’t feel self-reflective in the way the incident demands,” Oliver said. “I get no pleasure from having this conversation but you and I are not the victims here.” During their back and forth, Hoffman said of the Hunter allegations, “First of all, it didn’t happen, the way she reported. […] I still don’t know who this woman is. I never met her. If I met her, it was in concert with other people.”
Rossetter concluded her essay by calling Hoffman a man who “abuses his power and is a pig to women,” arguing his alleged behavior is swept under the rug by too many. “It was a long time ago,” she said. “This is not the red badge of courage I have worn for 32 years. I buried it deep. I am a tough dame… now. I continue to read the accolades pouring forth for him: Generous to a fault, kind, best man to work with. Women are overly sensitive to dirty jokes. Toughen up, ladies, etc. There is no denying I learned an enormous amount from him about acting. He was generous in the many presents he gave us and the many parties he threw. He can do all that and still be a man who manipulates, abuses his power and is a pig to women. They are not mutually exclusive.”