Richard Dreyfuss is the latest celebrity who has been accused of sexual harassment.
On Friday, Vulture published an exposé in which Los Angeles-based writer Jessica Teich claimed the 70-year-old actor had sexually harassed her while she worked as a researcher and junior writer for one of his television shows in the ’80s.
She also claimed the Jaws actor once exposed himself to her.
Teich told Vulture that in 1987, while they were working on an ABC comedy special called Funny, You Don’t Look 200: a Constitutional Vaudeville, Dreyfuss asked her to meet him in his trailer, where she claims he exposed himself to her.
“I remember walking up the steps into the trailer and turning towards me left,” she said. “And he was at the back of the trailer, and just — his penis was out, and he sort of tried to draw me close to hi.”
“He was hard. I remember my face being brought close to his penis,” she continued. “I can’t remember how my face got close to his penis, but I do remember that the idea was that I was going to give him a blow job. I didn’t, and I left.”
“It was like an out-of-body experience. I just tried to swiftly get out of the room. I pretended it hadn’t really happened, she continued. “I kept moving because it was part of my job, and I knew he was, at the time a very important guy, and certainly important to me. I trusted him.”
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Teich said that wasn’t the only incident of sexual misconduct she experienced while working with Dreyfuss.
“He created a very hostile work environment, where I felt sexualized, objectified, and unsafe,” she said, alleging that over the years they worked together Dreyfuss tried to kiss her and told her things like, “‘I want to f—k you.’”
“That was said all the time. He would constantly steer conversations to this yucky, insinuating thing, and I would sort of try to pull us back to a place where she could actually get some work done.”
In a response to Teich’s allegations, Dreyfuss wrote a lengthy response to Vulture, sent through the actor’s representation. In his statement he said that although “at the height of my fame in the late 1970s I became an a—,” he was “not an assaulter.”
“I emphatically deny ever ‘exposing’ myself to Jessica Teich, whom I have considered a friend for 30 years. I did flirt with her, and I remember trying to kiss Jessica as part of what I thought was a consensual seduction ritual that went on and on for many years. I am horrified and bewildered to discover that it wasn’t consensual. I didn’t get it. It makes me reassess every relationship I have ever thought was playful and mutual,” he continued.
The actor also used some of his statement to address the current wave of sexual misconduct allegations in Hollywood.
“There is a sea-change happening right now, which we can look upon as a problem or an opportunity. We all of us are awakening to the reality that how men have behaved toward women for eons is not OK. The rules are changing invisibly underneath our feet. I am playing catch up. Maybe we all are,” he said.
“I hope people can join me in honestly looking at our behavior and trying to make it right. We have to relearn every rule we thought we knew about how men and women interact, because after all getting together is the most fundamental human compulsion. And if we don’t succeed in that, what do we have? I hope this is the beginning of a larger conversation we can have as a culture.”
REALTED VIDEO: Richard Dreyfuss’ Son Harry Claims He Was ‘Groped’ by Kevin Spacey as a Teen
In a personal essay for BuzzFeed News, Harry said he was 18 when he accompanied his father to Spacey’s London apartment in 2008 to rehearse lines for the play Complicit, which Spacey was directing.
Harry claimed that he tried to move away twice, but Spacey followed him and allegedly put his hand back on the teen’s thigh.
“Once again Kevin followed me, sat down, and with considerable effort, slid his hand between my right hand and my right leg,” Harry claimed. “Over the course of about 20 seconds, centimeter by centimeter, Kevin crawled his hand from my thigh over toward my crotch. My mind went blank. Suddenly, he had completed his journey and now he had all of me in his hand.”
Harry said Dreyfuss did not see the incident take place, and he did not tell his father about it for many years.
After Harry shared the article, Dreyfuss came out in support of his son. “I love my son @harrydreyfuss more than I could explain with all the words in the world. And I am so incredibly proud of him right now,” the 70-year-old actor wrote on Twitter.