Richard Dreyfuss has denied allegations that he sexually harassed a colleague in the late 1980s.
Los Angeles-based writer Jessica Teich claimed in a statement to Vulture on Friday (10Nov17) that the Jaws actor sexually harassed her while she worked as a researcher and junior writer for one of his television shows.
She claims the incident took place in 1987, while they were working on an ABC comedy special called Funny, You Don’t Look 200: A Constitutional Vaudeville. Dreyfuss allegedly asked Teich 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 my left. 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 him,” she told Vulture, adding that she quickly walked out of the trailer.
She also claimed that Dreyfuss had tried to kiss her on multiple occasions, and said to her, “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,” she alleged. “He created a very hostile work environment, where I felt sexualized, objectified, and unsafe.”
In response to the allegations, Dreyfuss issued a lengthy statement via his representative.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Dreyfuss emphasized that he “values and respects women” but admitted that he was “an a**hole” at the height of his fame in the 1970s.
In addition, he said that he hoped the scandal currently engulfing Hollywood would lead to people reevaluating their behavior.
“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,” he concluded.
The allegations against the Oscar-winning actor come just a week after his son, Harry Dreyfuss, claimed he was once groped by Kevin Spacey while his father was in the room.
Other men have since come forward and shared similar stories about Spacey, with the actor seeking “evaluation and treatment” in the wake of the accusations.