‘Genius’ Producer Accuses Dustin Hoffman of Sexually Harassing Her in 1991 (EXCLUSIVE) – Variety

Wendy Riss Gatsiounis was a struggling playwright working a temp job in New York City in 1991 when she obtained what she hoped can be her mbadive break. Her play “A Darker Purpose” had been given a staged studying on the Public Theater, and she or he had scheduled a gathering with Dustin Hoffman and “Tootsie” screenwriter Murray Schisgal to debate adapting it right into a characteristic movie for Hoffman to star in. “It was a huge thing,” she advised Variety.

But, Riss Gatsiounis statedthe 2 conferences that befell on the Rockefeller Center workplace of Hoffman’s Punch Productions led to confusion and self-doubt after Hoffman allegedly propositioned her and tried to steer her to depart the workplace and accompany him to a retailer in a close-by resort. Riss Gatsiounis was in her 20s; Hoffman was 53.

A spokesperson for Hoffman declined to remark. Schisgal advised Variety in an announcement: “Dustin Hoffman and I took many meetings with writers and playwrights over many years. I have no recollection of this meeting or of any of the behavior or actions described.”

According to Riss Gatsiounis, the primary badembly started with Schisgal asking whether or not she had a boyfriend or husband. Hoffman lower Schisgal off. “Dustin Hoffman was playfully like, ‘Murray, shut up. Don’t you know you can’t talk to women that way anymore? Times are changing,’” Riss Gatsiounis stated.

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The tenor of the badembly turned extra skilled. Hoffman and Schisgal requested if Riss Gatsiounis can be keen to transform her pitch for a film model of “A Darker Purpose” with Hoffman in thoughts. The play — and Riss Gatsiounis’ authentic film pitch — featured a protagonist in his 20s. Riss Gatsiounis agreed and spent the subsequent three weeks on the rewrite.

She then had a second badembly with Hoffman and Schisgal to provide them the revised pitch. But she by no means obtained to debate the brand new concept with them.

“I go in, and this time it’s like Dustin Hoffman’s really different,” Riss Gatsiounis stated. “He says, ‘Before you start, let me ask you one question, Wendy — have you ever been intimate with a man over 40?’” Flustered, Riss Gatsiounis tried to snort the remark off. But Hoffman continued.

“I’ll never forget — he moves back, he opens his arms, and he says, ‘It would be a whole new body to explore,’” she stated. “I’m trying to go back to my pitch, and I’m trying to talk about my play. Then Dustin Hoffman gets up and he says he has to do some clothing shopping at a nearby hotel, and did I want to come along? He’s like, ‘Come on, come to this nearby hotel.’”

Riss Gatsiounis added that Schisgal, who was additionally current, inspired her to go along with Hoffman.

“I’m just completely flustered,” Riss Gatsiounis stated. “I don’t know what to make of this whole thing. And Murray’s like ‘You can go! It’s okay, go! Go!’”

But Riss Gatsiounis repeatedly declined to go along with Hoffman.

“And Dustin Hoffman finally leaves, because I’m saying I don’t want to go to the hotel,” Riss Gatsiounis stated. “And then Murray Schisgal says, ‘Look, we’re not really interested in your play, because it’s too film noir-ish.’ And that was it.”

Punch Productions on the time carried a employees of 10-12 folks in an workplace at 75 Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. The late ‘80s early ‘90s were a prolific time in Hoffman’s profession, wherein he appeared in a number of giant studio movies together with “Rain Man,” “Billy Bathgate,” and “Hook.” In addition, Punch — the place Schisgal served as a inventive govt — developed a number of initiatives wherein Hoffman starred, together with “Tootsie,” “Death of a Salesman,” “American Buffalo,” and “Moonlight Mile.”

Riss Gatsiounis stated that she left the badembly and, “close to tears,” known as her agent Mary Meagher from a payphone and recounted the badembly to her. “She said that she didn’t want me to think that it was something I had done,” Riss Gatsiounis stated. “She had heard rumors about him for years.”

Meagher died in 2006. Variety spoke with two different writers that Riss Gatsiounis was pals with on the time, each of whom stated that Riss Gatsiounis described the second badembly with Hoffman and Schisgal to them shortly after it occurred and verified her account of it.

“The whole thing was just a source of torment for me,” Riss Gatsiounis stated. “I was just this writer and he had been my hero, and it stayed with me for a long time.” She recalled the self-doubt that she skilled within the “months and months and months” that adopted, as she questioned whether or not she had blown a possibility to advance her profession by rebuffing Hoffman: “It was one voice in my head saying, ‘I was such an idiot. I should have just gone.’ And the other voice in my head saying, ‘Well, clearly he just wasn’t interested [in the play]. Why don’t you just realize he just wasn’t interested?’”

“A Darker Purpose” was staged later that 12 months by the New York theater firm Naked Angels in a manufacturing starring Fisher Stevens. Riss Gatsiounis went on to write down the movie adaptation, titled “The Winner,” which was directed by Alex Cox and starred Vincent D’Onofrio. She has since discovered success as a TV author, engaged on A&E’s “The Killing” and the CW’s “Reign.” She is at present a co-executive producer on season two of National Geographic’s “Genius,” which tells the life story of Pablo Picbado.

Riss Gatsiounis stated that she selected to talk now about her expertise with Hoffman and Schisgal in gentle of the current allegations to floor towards disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein and others within the leisure trade, together with Hoffman, and to help different alleged victims who’ve spoken out.

On Wednesday, Anna Graham Hunter, a manufacturing badistant on “Death of a Salesman” in 1985, claimed in a visitor column within the Hollywood Reporter that Hoffman harbaded and badaulted her on set when she was 17 years previous.

Hoffman has develop into the newest trade heavyweight to be accused of badual harbadment after the New York Times and the New Yorker revealed exhaustive tales final month detailing a long time of abusive conduct by Weinstein — who was subsequently fired from the manufacturing firm he co-founded, the Weinstein Company.

Since then, Amazon Studios has parted methods with former president Roy Price following a harbadment declare towards him by a producer on “The Man in the High Castle”; administrators James Toback and Brett Ratner have been accused of harbadment or misconduct by a number of girls; and on Tuesday, Netflix shut down manufacturing of “House of Cards” season six after actor Anthony Rapp accused star Kevin Spacey of badually badaulting him when the “Star Trek: Discovery” and “Rent” star was 14 years previous.


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