Since writer Anna Graham Hunter’s piece in The Hollywood Reporter last week about her experiences on the set of Death of a Salesman, more questionable information about Dustin Hoffman’s behaviour has come to light. It’s been well reported that Meryl Streep and Hoffman did not get along on the set of Kramer vs. Kramer in which they both starred and for which they both won Academy Awards.
In a biography of the actress in 2016, Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep, Michael Schulman recounts the horrible dynamic between the two stars off camera, even detailing an incident where Hoffman slapped Streep for not performing in the way he felt she should. Streep herself was vocal about her distain for Hoffman at the time. In a recently unearthed 1979 interview with Time Magazine, Streep recounted her first meeting with Hoffman and how repulsed she was.
‘He came up to me and said, ‘I’m Dustin—burp—Hoffman,’ and he put his hand on my breast,’ Streep told Time, ‘What an obnoxious pig, I thought.’
Hoffman hasn’t publicly responded to her account in the intervening 38 years. Since the interview came back into the spotlight this week, a representative for Streep responded to E! New‘s request for comment.
The rep said the interview was not an ‘accurate rendering of that meeting’ and added, ‘there was an offense and it is something for which Dustin apologized. And Meryl accepted that.’
With no further comment by either actor, Streep’s statement leaves more questions than answers. Was the story Streep told in 1979 a lie then? That seems unlikely. But if it were true, why go back on a clear account of sexual harassment in the workplace at a moment in time when so many victims are coming forward? Streep called Harvey Weinstein’s behaviour ‘disgraceful’ and spoke out against Donald Trump, who has also been accused by multiple women of (and basically admitted to) sexual assault. It’s strange that she would backtrack here.
What’s up, Meryl?