Dustin Hoffman: Accused of Groping an Underage Girl!

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A few years ago, if you saw a name of a beloved celebrity trending, you clicked because you worried that they might be dead.

These days, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal, you see their name pop up, and you worry that they might have committed sexual assault. Just today, it came out that director Brett Ratner was accused of sexual assault by multiple actresses.

Well, Dustin Hoffman's name is trending right now ... and, well, he's still alive..

Dustin Hoffman Looking Serious

We might think of Dustin Hoffman, these days, as a living legend. He's a veteran actor and, up until today, was widely respected.

Once upon a time, though, he was a young actor at the top of his game.

Anna Graham Hunter has come forward with her story, accusing Dustin Hoffman of sexually harassing her when she was only 17.

She shared her story in The Hollywood Reporter. Just because this happened in 1985 does not make this okay, folks.

"When I was a senior in high school in New York City, interning as a production assistant on the set of the Death of a Salesman TV film, he asked me to give him a foot massage my first day on set; I did."

Massaging can be entirely non-sexual or pretty explicitly sexual and everything in-between.

Because of that ambiguity, we'd say that if you're going to ask a 17-year-old for a massage, you should probably be their peer -- like, say, a classmate. If not, you should be a trustworthy family member.

Based upon this, there was no ambiguity about how Dustin Hoffman regarded Anna Graham.

"He was openly flirtatious, he grabbed my ass, he talked about sex to me and in front of me."

That's not appropriate around a 17-year-old or in a workplace. And the butt-grabbing might be the worst part of it.

"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.'"

Even if he were saying that to a lover, that would be super weird. Speaking to another woman, especially in a work setting and especially a minor, that crosses some serious lines.

So how did the other people respond? And how did Anna Graham?

"His entourage burst out laughing. I left, speechless. Then I went to the bathroom and cried."

That is heartbreaking.

Reflecting back on it all, she summarizes things pretty honestly.

"I loved the attention from Dustin Hoffman. Until I didn't."

Dustin Hoffman in 1990

Anna Graham brought up letters that she had written to her sister at the time, detailing her life on the set.

"When I was walking Dustin to his limo, he felt my ass four times. I hit him each time, hard, and told him he was a dirty old man. He took off his hat and pointed to his head (shaved for the part) and said, 'No, I'm a dirty young man, I have a full head of hair.'"

On February fourth of 1985, her letter details how things got worse ... but also better.

"Today this business got scarier. Or at least less appealing. This morning when I asked Dustin what he wanted for breakfast, he said something that beat even his lows. It was worse than anything anyone has ever said to me on the street."

Well, we know what he said -- the "soft-boiled" line. Creepy.

"It was so gross I couldn't say anything. I just turned around and walked out."

That's a very understandable reaction.

"Then later I tried to get into a serious conversation with Frankie about why Dustin is like that. I don't know how Dustin knew what we were talking about, but he shouted, 'Anna! Are you badmouthing me? Anna! Get over here, Anna!' The whole crew was cracking up, and I ducked behind a set."

There was more fallout. But maybe it was worth 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!' 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."

She said that he did in fact stop, and that he started acting towards her the way that he acted when his wife was around. Gentlemanly, for the most part.

On February 20th of 1985, she reached her conclusion about him.

"No one is 100 percent good or bad. Dustin's a pig, but I like him a lot."

Dustin Hoffman Sits Back

The actor has responded.

In a statement to the Associated Press, Dustin Hoffman issued a sincere-sounding apology.

"I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation."

It's not clear if he read her account, but he clearly got the gist of it.

"I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am."

This is one of those semi-apologies that we so often see in Hollywood.

It could mean that he's not sorry at all ... but it more likely means that he's genuinely sorry about it, now that he's 30 years older and wiser, but still doesn't want to admit explicitly to anything.

Lawsuits are real things, folks.

Dustin Hoffman

This is complicated.

The time at which this took place and the act that Anna Graham appreciated his attention -- up to a point -- doesn't mean anything.

After all, there's no statute of limitations on something being bad. Sexual harassment isn't excusable just because it happened a long time ago.

It's possible that Dustin Hoffman misread some things (a lot of men take friendliness as genuine flirtation), but again, that's an explanation and not an excuse.

Like Anna Graham, we find it hard to hate Dustin Hoffman for this -- after all, what she describes is much more good-natured than the menacing predatory accounts that we've heard from actresses like Selma Blair or in Lupita Nyong'o's Weinstein story.

Those were stories about calculated predators who lured women under the guise of work and then repeatedly tried to pressure them into unwanted sex.

But let's be very clear -- this story about Dustin Hoffman is the story of an older man sexually harassing a minor. It's a story about other people ignoring it.

Everything that she describes is part of the same toxic, predatory problem that pervades every #MeToo story that we've read..

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