Sexual harassment is no laughing matter…

As we reported, Anna Graham Hunter is accusing Dustin Hoffman of grabbing her ass, asking for foot rubs, and inquiring about her sex life on the set of the 1985 TV-movie adaptation Death of a Salesman. She was only 17 years old at the time of the alleged incident.

On Friday, DOAS director Volker Schlondorff released a statement defending the now-80-year-old actor, saying he was a “kidder” who was simply “teasing the young, nervous interns, mostly to make them feel included on the set.”

Related: Second Woman Comes Forward Accusing Dustin Hoffman Of Sexual Harassment

According to the filmmaker, Hoffman was known for his sexually charged sense of humor, which apparently made everybody laugh:

“Standard Monday morning question was indeed. ‘Did you have good sex over the weekend?’ A joke, a running gag, everybody laughed at.”‘

As for the foot rubs?

“Foot massage? Yes indeed, he was 16 hours standing on the set (as me he never sat down), so he was tired and besides there is a line in the play about it: ‘These arch supports are killing me.’ Dustin Hoffman, ever method acting, made it his own. Everybody gave him a foot massage now and then, on the set, amidst the chaos, nothing ambiguous about it.”‘

Overall, Schlondorff believes calling The Graduate thespian a “predator” is “simply going too far,” and if Dustin knew his alleged actions made Hunter upset, “he wouldn’t have done it.”

When word of Volker’s letter hit the Internet, social media users immediately DRAGGED the director for trying to justify Hoffman’s alleged harassment.

Read Volker’s full statement below:

“I welcome the #metoo campaign and do not want to sound dismissive of what I consider a serious cause. However one should not smear, tar and feather indistinctively every male around. Calling Dustin Hoffman a predator is simply going too far. I hope this fades away.

It’s plain silly. Just watch Christian Blackwood’s wonderful documentary PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS on the making of DOAS to check what a kidder Dustin was on the set, at all time, with everybody. Standard Monday morning question was indeed. “Did you have good sex over the weekend?” A joke, a running gag, everybody laughed at.

Foot massage? Yes indeed, he was 16 hours standing on the set (as me he never sat down), so he was tired and besides there is a line in the play about it: “These arch supports are killing me.” Dustin Hoffman, ever method acting, made it his own. Everybody gave him a foot massage now and then, on the set, amidst the chaos, nothing ambiguous about it.

As to the joke who was going to get Warren Beatty, only a teenager in her unlimited fantasy could take it seriously. Slapping her butt on the way to the car, with driver, stage manager and PAs around, may have happened, but again in a funny way, nothing lecherous about it. He was a clown, it was part of the way we portrayed Willy Loman as well — but he never played the power play. He was teasing the young, nervous interns, mostly to make them feel included on the set, treating them as equals to all the senior technicians. She may have got it wrong, confiding it to her diary then, but as a grown-up 30 years later she should know that his was no “sexual harassment,” and not call him a “predator.”

In her innermost she must know that this teasing was not to put her down, but to make her relax with all these celebrities around. She had a self-assured playful way herself. If he knew that she would be upset when he was teasing her, he wouldn’t have done it. Not the sensitive man he was, and still is. I wish Arthur Miller was around, he would find the right words, but then he might get accused of sexually molesting Marilyn Monroe.”

[Image via Lia Toby/WENN.]

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