sexual harassment

Former PA Accuses Dustin Hoffman of Sexual Harassment on Death of a Salesman Set in ’80s

Photo: Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images

When Anna Graham Hunter was 17, she interned as a production assistant on the set of Death of a Salesman, the 1985 TV movie starring Dustin Hoffman, John Malkovich, and Stephen Lang. In a first-person essay for The Hollywood Reporter, Hunter has accused Hoffman of sexually harassing her. Hunter recalls — through letters she wrote to her sister during this time, detailing her days on set — Hoffman making frequent inappropriate sexual comments around her and to her, groping her, and asking for massages. At first, Hunter writes, she was charmed by the actor’s comments, but they quickly made her uncomfortable. “My heart aches for the awkward virgin with the bad hair who had only been kissed three times in her life, laughing as the man her father’s age talked about breasts and sex. I want to weep that she found this charming,” she wrote in THR. In a response statement, Hoffman apologized: “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.”

According to published excerpts from Hunter’s letters, Hoffman described the first day they met: He invited her to join his entourage to eat lunch, and then asked for a foot massage. “[Another PA] and I were discussing why he is so nice to us,” Hunter wrote. “One reason is because he likes girls. Jenna is in eighth grade. Another is probably because he gets tired of all the kissy-assy people.” By the second week of production, Hoffman asked the high-school senior about her sex life, and groped her multiple times. When she reported his conduct to a supervisor, he got wind of it: “Later, I was delivering lunches when John, Stephen, and Dustin came down the hall and he shouted, ‘Anna! So you think I’m a sexist pig, huh? Anna!’” she wrote. “The whole fucking studio heard him. So I told him that I didn’t appreciate his wandering hands or his comments. He apologized and said he would stop.”

Hunter said Hoffman didn’t grope her again, but she felt unsupported by her supervisors. “The bad news is [my supervisor] said it’s too bad [the harassment] became an issue. Hell, I didn’t make it an issue. He did,” Hunter wrote in a letter dated February 4, 1985. “She said that for the sake of the production we have to sacrifice some of our values and just let it roll over our heads. She said we should try to have a sense of humor and just giggle and slap his hands or something.”

Ex-PA Says Dustin Hoffman Sexually Harassed Her in 1985