Bill Murray Calls Dustin Hoffman a 'Flirt' While Defending Him Against Sexual Harassment Claims
While participating at an event for the 92nd Street Y in New York City on Wednesday, Murray, 68, called his Tootsie costar a “really decent person,” according to the Associated Press.
“Dustin Hoffman is a great man,” Murray added, before using some choice adjectives to describe Hoffman’s behavior. “He’s crazy, a ‘Borscht Belt’ flirt, has been his whole life. [But] he’s a really sweet man.”
During the event, Murray was interviewing a former agent of both his and Hoffman’s, Michael Ovitz, who recently published his memoir, Who Is Michael Ovitz?.
Last year, six women came forward to accuse Hoffman, 81, of sexual misconduct.
Anna Graham Hunter, the first to go on the record about Hoffman’s alleged abuse in a column for The Hollywood Reporter, claimed that at the age of 17, while interning as a production assistant for the 1985 Death of a Salesman TV film, the actor behaved in an “openly flirtatious” manner with her.
“One morning I went to his dressing room to take his breakfast order; he looked at me and grinned, taking his time. Then he said, ‘I’ll have a hard-boiled egg … and a soft-boiled clitoris,’” Hunter recalled. “His entourage burst out laughing. I left, speechless. Then I went to the bathroom and cried.”
In response to the story, Hoffman told THR, “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.”
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In December of last year, Hoffman himself was forced to answer questions about the allegations, during an event held at the same location, which was hosted and moderated by television host John Oliver.
“This is something we’re going to have to talk about because… it’s hanging in the air,” Oliver told Hoffman, according to the Washington Post.
“It’s hanging in the air?” the actor replied. “From a few things you’ve read you’ve made an incredible assumption about me.”
Their exchange went on to become more heated when the Last Week Tonight host addressed a statement the actor had publicly made, apologizing for his behavior to Hunter — specifically Hoffman’s claim that the alleged incident is “not reflective of who I am.”
“It’s that kind of response to this stuff that pisses me off,” Oliver said. “It is reflective of who you were. If it happened and you’ve given no evidence to show it didn’t happen. Then there was a period of time for a while when you were creeping around women. It feels like a cop-out to say, ‘well, this isn’t me.’ Do you understand how that feels like a dismissal?”
In response, Hoffman remarked, “It’s difficult to answer that question. You weren’t there.”
“I’m glad,” Oliver replied.