Years later, Meryl Streep is still not okay with Dustin Hoffman slapping her during “Kramer vs. Kramer”
Meryl Streep has weighed in on Dustin Hoffman’s behavior in light of allegations against him, and while she’s hopeful the current sexual misconduct reckoning in Hollywood will bring about important change going forward, she’s not sugar-coating things that happened in the past between them.
Streep recently told The New York Times that Hoffman overstepped when he slapped her in their first scene together in 1979’s Kramer vs. Kramer:
"This is tricky because when you’re an actor, you’re in a scene, you have to feel free. I’m sure that I have inadvertently hurt people in physical scenes. But there’s a certain amount of forgiveness in that. But this was my first movie, and it was my first take in my first movie, and he just slapped me.
"And you see it in the movie. It was overstepping. But I think those things are being corrected in this moment. And they’re not politically corrected; they’re fixed. They will be fixed, because people won’t accept it anymore. So that’s a good thing."
The comments came up in a conversation Streep and her The Post co-star Tom Hanks were having with the paper about the #MeToo movement, among other topics. Since Hoffman has been accused of grabbing women, making lewd remarks, and making unwanted advances toward former female colleagues, Streep was asked to offer her insights. In fact, Streep had previously said Hoffman grabbed her breast the first time they met — an interaction Hoffman had reportedly later apologized for and Streep had forgiven.
Hoffman is just one of the many powerful men in Hollywood (and other industries) who has been accused of improper sexual actions in the past few months. The conversation around the Hoffman accusations has been particularly heated, partly because Last Week Tonight‘s John Oliver wasn’t messing around when he pressed the topic with the actor during a December live panel. Oliver later said he regretted the way the confrontation went down and that “the whole thing just made [him] feel sad.”
Watching so many upsetting stories surface has been emotionally draining for everybody, but as the wise Meryl Streep said, this painful processing will, eventually, make things better. And Ms. Streep’s thoughtful approach of focusing on the positive while still speaking out about what women are actually facing and have been facing for years is definitely a step in the right direction.