LOS ANGELES - Actor Richard Dreyfuss is the latest big name to be accused of inappropriate sexual conduct.
Los Angeles-based writer Jessica Teich said Dreyfuss harassed her constantly for a two to three-year period during the mid-80s, and at one point exposed himself to her.
Dreyfuss responded in a statement reported by New York Magazine's Vulture, saying he did flirt with and kiss Teich but is now horrified and bewildered to discover that it was not consensual.
He "emphatically" denied ever exposing himself. He went on to say he did act like a jerk at the height of his fame, and said he is now "playing catch up" as society awakens to the reality of how men have treated women.
The actor's son, Harry Dreyfuss, recently came out and said that Kevin Spacey, another celebrity in hot water over sexual misconduct, groped him in 2008 when he was 18 while his father was rehearsing a play at Spacey's London apartment.
Teich worked with Dreyfuss on a TV project as a writer but for years worked in a hostile work environment in which she felt sexualized, objectified and unsafe. She also said she's not looking for money and just wanted the truth out there.
Read Dreyfuss' full statement below:
"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.
There is a sea-change happening right now, which we can look upon as a problem or an opportunity. We all of us are awakening to the reality that how men have behaved toward women for eons is not OK. The rules are changing invisibly underneath our feet. I am playing catch up. Maybe we all are.
I hope people can join me in honestly looking at our behavior and trying to make it right. We have to relearn every rule we thought we knew about how men and women interact, because after all getting together is the most fundamental human compulsion. And if we don't succeed in that, what do we have? I hope this is the beginning of a larger conversation we can have as a culture."