Meryl Streep responds to old interview in which she accused Dustin Hoffman of groping her

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The interview, from 1979, resurfaced after Hoffman was accused of sexual harassment.

Meryl Streep has responded to the re-emergence of an old interview in which she accused the actor Dustin Hoffman of groping her.

The article, which ran in Time magazine in 1979, recently resurfaced after another woman made allegations of sexual harassment against Hoffman. In it, Streep described the first time she met Hoffman, at an audition for a play he was directing.

“He came up to me and said, ‘I’m Dustin – burp – Hoffman,’ and he put his hand on my breast,” Streep said. “What an obnoxious pig, I thought.”

Streep has now clarified her remarks. In a statement to E! News, her spokesperson said: “There was an offence and it is something for which Dustin apologised. And Meryl accepted that.”

Hoffman and Streep starred opposite one another in the 1979 film Kramer vs Kramer, in which they played a divorcing couple. Their relationship during filming was famously rocky – but Streep’s representative said that the Time article was not an “accurate rendering” of what had previously occurred between the two actors.

The spokesperson added that Streep had since forgiven Hoffman. 

Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep in the 1979 film Kramer vs Kramer

Streep’s 1979 comments came under renewed scrutiny at the end of October, when a woman wrote a piece for The Hollywood Reporter in which she said that Hoffman sexually harassed her when they worked together in the Eighties.

Anna Graham Hunter said that Hoffman repeatedly harassed her during the 1985 shoot for film Death of a Salesman, when he was 47 and she was a 17-year-old production intern.

Her article includes extracts from letters she sent to her sister at the time, in which she says that Hoffman groped her, talked to her in an intensely sexualised manner, and asked her to give him foot rubs.

“At 49, I understand what Dustin Hoffman did as it fits into the larger pattern of what women experience in Hollywood and everywhere,” Graham Hunter wrote. “He was a predator, I was a child, and this was sexual harassment.”

Hoffman issued a statement in response to Graham Hunter’s article, in which he apologised for his past behaviour.

“I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation,” he said. “I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am.”

Dustin Hoffman pictured in October 2017

Streep, for her part, has been outspoken in her criticism of the man whose downfall unleashed the present torrent of stories about sexual harassment in Hollywood.

“The disgraceful news about Harvey Weinstein has appalled those of us whose work he championed, and whose good and worthy causes he supported,” she said in a statement in October. “The intrepid women who raised their voices to expose this abuse are our heroes.”

Streep added that she herself had been unaware of the rumours about Weinstein’s sexually predatory behaviour.

“Not everybody knew,” she said. “Harvey supported the work fiercely, was exasperating but respectful with me in our working relationship, and with many others with whom he worked professionally.

“I didn’t know about these other offences.”

Images: Rex Features