Richard Dreyfuss, the actor whose son Harry Dreyfuss recently revealed how he was groped by Kevin Spacey when he was 18, is now facing sexual harassment allegations of his own.
Best known for his performances in Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” the actor has been accused of sexual harassment by Los Angeles-based writer Jessica Teich, who said in an interview with Vulture that Dreyfuss exposed himself to her without her consent.
The actor has been critical of Donald Trump even long before he was elected as President of the U.S. In a tweet dating to October 2016, Dreyfuss wrote: “Trump is a disgusting, dangerous pig. His supporters should abandon him—but don’t let them forget that they did this. What’s done is done.”
Teich told Vulture that she was “bothered” by Dreyfuss’ tweet in support of his son. “When I read about his support for his son, which I would never question, I remember thinking, But wait a minute, this guy harassed me for months,” said Teich. “He was in a position of so much power over me, and I didn’t feel I could tell anyone about it. It just seemed so hypocritical.”
Teich says that over a two-to three-year period in the mid-1980s, she was constantly harassed by Dreyfuss. She was in her mid-20s at the time. In one incident, she says he exposed himself to her in his trailer. The two were working on the 1987 ABC comedy special “Funny, You Don’t Look 200: A Constitutional Vaudeville,” which Dreyfuss produced and hosted. It was Dreyfuss’ passion project.
According to Teich, the two had been working on the script since 1984 when she says the older man invited her to talk about the project on the set of a movie he was working. When she arrived, he allegedly exposed himself to her.
“I remember walking up the steps into the trailer and turning towards my left,” Teich says, “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 it. He was hard. I remember my face being brought close to his penis. 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 wasn’t the only time Teich claims Dreyfuss harassed her. She told Vulture he would try and kiss her in professional settings and give her “I love you” notes during business meetings. As the pair would travel a lot while developing the comedy special, they were often near each other. Teich says that Dreyfuss once told her that he spent the night with his ear next to the wall listening to her movements in the hotel room next door.
“He has that way of sidling up to you and saying things like, ‘I want to fuck you,’” said Teich. “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.”
Dreyfuss has since denied the claims, stating that he “respects women.” He wrote:
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 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. 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.
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 says that throughout her career, she has only told three people about the harassment she received: her therapist, her family member, and a close friend. Both her friend and family member were able to confirm what she said to Vulture, but the therapist declined to comment due to doctor-patient confidentiality.