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Richard Dreyfuss accused Of sexual harassment by a writer

Press Trust of India  |  Los Angeles 

Richard Dreyfuss has been accused of sexual harassment by LA based writer Jessica Teich, days after publicly defending his son Harry's decision to come forward with a groping accusation against Kevin Spacey.

In a post, Teich accused Dreyfuss of harassing her over a two-to-three-year period in the mid-1980s.

"This Hollywood eminence, who held my career in his grip, repeatedly said he wanted to f*** me, even as his brother would suddenly shove his tongue inside my ear. Is that the worst thing that ever happened to me? Not by a long shot, but the abuse of power was breathtaking," Teich wrote.

In a Vulture interview she gave more details of the alleged harassment.

She said that in October, 1987, while the pair were working on an ABC special about the bicentennial of the U S Constitution, Dreyfuss asked her to meet him in his trailer on a movie set.

"He was at the back of the trailer and just his privates were out, and he sort of tried to draw me close to it... and I left."

She said the actor never asked her to do anything while he was exposing himself.

"He created a very hostile work environment, where I felt sexualised, objectified, and unsafe. He has that way of sidling up to you and saying things like, 'I want to f*** 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 we could actually get some work done," she added.

That incident was the most shocking between them, said Teich, author of "The Future Tense of Joy," a 2016 memoir that details a year of sexual molestation and horrific beatings she endured when she was 16 at the hands of a man 12 years her senior.

Dreyfuss immediately responded to the allegations, saying "I emphatically deny ever 'exposing' myself to Jessica Teich."

"I value and respect women, and I value and respect honesty. So I want to try to tell you the complicated truth. At the height of my fame in the late 1970s I became an a******

the kind of performative masculine man my father had modelled for me to be. And flirt I did...

"During those years I was swept up in a world of celebrity and drugs which are not excuses, just truths. Since then I have had to redefine what it means to be a man, and an ethical man. I think every man on Earth has or will have to grapple with this question. But I am not an assaulter," he said.

The Oscar-winning actor added that he did flirt with the writer but is shocked to "discover that it wasn't consensual".

"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," Dreyfuss added.

However, Teich said he is not friends with Dreyfuss and "flirt is absolutely not the right word" to describe his actions.

"It suggests something mutual, and that was not the case. ... I'm not that guy's friend. I haven't seen that guy or spoken to him in 25 years. But as a person, I respond to the sense of hurt that underlies his words, and something in me feels compassion for him, even though he made my life hell. And that's part of the complexity of the whole thing, I think," she said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, November 11 2017. 12:48 IST