In an interview with The New York Times about her new project “The Post” and Hollywood’s recent reckoning with sexual abuse and harassment published Wednesday, Streep recalled a day on set when Hoffman slapped her across the face without warning while filming a scene.
“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,” Streep said. “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.”
According to biographer Michael Schulman, who published a book about Streep’s career in 2016, the actor also taunted her about the death of her boyfriend, actor John Cazale, to provoke a reaction for the camera. Streep apparently later forgave his on-set behavior after he apologized.
Hoffman has been at the center of multiple allegations of sexual misconduct from women including an intern on on the set of a TV movie and a friend of his daughter’s, both of whom were teenagers at the time. Things came to a head at a contentious panel led by John Oliver last month when the host publicly confronted Hoffman about the groping accusations.
While Streep refuses to name other individuals who’ve mistreated her in the film industry, the actress told the Times that she felt “really beaten up” in the early days of her career, when drugs ran rampant on film sets.
“I have experienced things, mostly when I was young and pretty. Nobody comes on to me [now]. So I wouldn’t have had that more recently,” she said. “But back in the day, when everybody was doing cocaine, there was a lot of [expletive] behavior that was inexcusable. But now that people are older, and more sober, there has to be forgiveness, and that’s the way I feel about it.”
She added, “I do think if the world is going to go on, we have to find out a way to work together, and know that it’s better for men if they respect us deeply as equals.”
To read Streep’s full interview, head over to The New York Times.