Richard Dreyfuss has denied a claim that he exposed himself to a Los Angeles writer while they were putting together a comedy special for ABC. But the Academy Award-winning actor does admit to being an “asshole” and an aggressive “flirt.”
Television writer Jessica Teich recently told Vulture that in 1987, while working on “Funny You Don’t Look 200: A Constitutional Vaudeville,” Dreyfuss once pulled her toward him while his penis was hanging out of his pants.
“I remember my face being brought close to his penis,” Teich said. “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 [oral sex]. I didn’t, and I left.”
Dreyfuss admitted in a statement to Vulture that he was once an “asshole” and a persistent flirt.
“At the height of my fame in the late 1970s I became an asshole ― the kind of performative masculine man my father had modeled for me to be. I lived by the motto, ‘If you don’t flirt, you die.’ And flirt I did. I flirted with all women, be they actresses, producers or 80-year-old grandmothers. I even flirted with those who were out of bounds, like the wives of some of my best friends, which especially revolts me. I disrespected myself and I disrespected them, and ignored my own ethics, which I regret more deeply than I can express.”
Dreyfuss also said 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.”
Teich said Dreyfuss not only exposed himself to her, but that he created a “toxic work environment” with his relentless harassment. He “has that way of sidling up to you and saying things like, ‘I want to fuck you,’” she recalled. “That was said all the time.”
“When I read about his support for his son ... I remember thinking, ‘But wait a minute, this guy harassed me for months.’ He was in a position of so much power over me and I didn’t feel I could tell anyone about it,” Teich told Vulture. “It just seemed so hypocritical.”
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.