Days after Dustin Hoffman faced questioning regarding allegations of sexual harassment on the set of the 1985 TV adaptation of Death of a Salesman, an actress from that Broadway revival has penned a guest column describing the “horrific, demoralizing and abusive experience” she experienced while starring alongside Hoffman.
Actress Kathryn Rossetter is the fourth woman to accuse Hoffman of sexual misconduct, which previously included allegations of groping and inappropriate comments.
In Rossetter’s column for the Hollywood Reporter, she described how excited she was to land a role on Broadway alongside Hoffman, “one of my acting idols.” After she was cast in the role of Willy Loman’s mistress, the then-married Hoffman made a subtle advance on her by inviting her to his hotel room and requesting she give him a massage.
Once performances began, before and during their scene together, Rossetter wrote that Hoffman’s physical contact became more aggressive.
“One night in Chicago, I felt his hand up under my slip on the inside of my thighs. I was completely surprised and tried to bat him away while watching the stage for my cues,” the actress wrote. “After the show he was busy with the producer and director so I had no access to him to address it. It then happened almost every show. Six to eight shows a week. I couldn’t speak to him in the moment because I was on a live mic. He kept it up and got more and more aggressive. One night he actually started to stick his fingers inside me. Night after night I went home and cried. I withdrew and got depressed and did not have any good interpersonal relationships with the cast.”
In a photo accompanying the Rossetter column, Hoffman is seen groping the actress’ breast as the actress smiles. “He was very skilled at dropping his hand just as the picture snapped to avoid it being recorded. But it was pre-digital. You didn’t know what was there until they were developed,” Rossetter wrote. “Only by luck do I have one such picture — where the camera caught him in the act. A picture I had taken with hopes of sending it to my family. A millisecond in time. There I am — big smile and my arm moving toward his with the intention to push it away. But caught as it is, it seems I’m complicit with the gesture. I was not. Not ever.”
Similarly, a photo of Rossetter groping Hoffman –”a knee-jerk response built up over two years, I grabbed Hoffman’s crotch” – wound up in an issue of Playboy with the caption, “Reviving a dead Salesman.” “How ironic. Abused women who fight back usually go to jail,” Rossetter wrote.
Previous Hoffman accusers include the actor’s The Graduate co-star Katharine Ross, a then-17-year-old Death of a Salesman intern named Anna Graham Hunter and writer Wendy Riss Gatsiounis. During a Wag the Dog screening attended by Hoffman, Last Week Tonight host John Oliver had a contentious exchange with the actor about the allegations.
Rossetter added, “My issue isn’t what he said, it’s what he did. Along with the nightly sexual harassment, he eroded my confidence, my dignity. He humiliated and demeaned me. He robbed me of my joy in the experience and he left dirty fingerprints on my soul.”
Hoffman’s representative declined to comment on Rossetter’s claims. His representative did state that Hoffman’s attorneys put THR in touch with several other people who worked on Death of a Salesman who did not recall witnessing any of the conduct described by Rossetter and questioned her account.