Hollywood star Richard Dreyfuss has appeared on TODAY Extra and slammed Lisa Wilkinson after he appeared on Sunday night's episode of The Project.
The 70-year-old actor, and fellow actor Kathleen Turner, 64, are in Australia to attend the fan convention Supernova, and appeared on The Project as part of their promotional tour.
After a few minutes breezy moments of banter on their role at the fan convention, the conversation turned to the current state of Hollywood, specifically the #MeToo movement that resulted after multiple high-profile men were accused of sexual misconduct.
Lisa Wilkinson said to Dreyfuss, 'I presume you're not uncomfortable with this because you had to put out a statement in response to one of your colleagues calling you out for behaviour going back decades. You did a very mea culpa statement in response to that, a very reflective statement talking about the macho culture in Hollywood.'
Wilkinson then preceded to read out Dreyfuss' previous statement, released late last year, '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.'
The popular presenter then probed, 'Did it revolt you in the years afterwards, or only really when #MeToo held a mirror up to Hollywood?'
Dreyfuss, clearly taken aback by the abrupt line of questioning, replied: 'It revolted me immediately and that's what I stopped. Between the years like '79 to '82-'83, I was a low-down dirty dog, and I did lots of things that I'm ashamed of now. But they were all culturally supported as all men know, as all women know -- they just don't want to remember it that way.'
Now the Hollywood actor, who has appeared in films such as Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, slammed Wilkinson to TODAY Extra hosts Sonia Kruger and David Campbell.
Telling the hosts, he likened the interview to being 'mugged' and slammed the show and it's hosts for promising a 'light and friendly chat' that in the end was 'brutally not.'
Dreyfuss' full statement against The Project reads: 'Yes, I didn't make statements about either of those things, statements were made about me. And that's why I'd like to clarify them if you don't mind.
'I was mugged the other night in Sydney, Australia -- not by a petty thief, but by the host and hostesses of a talk show called The Project. Kathleen Turner and I had been invited on the show to have a light, friendly chat about the autograph show that we were participating in, in Sydney and in Perth, as that invitation to a specifically 'light and friendly chat' was being repeated to us by two or three of the show's staff.
'Questions were prepared and entered into the teleprompters that could be referred to by Lisa Wilkinson and Hamish Macdonald, two of the hosts. 'Light and friendly' didn't survive until the end of the first sentence. It was directed as a question to Kathleen, something about, 'Has Hollywood changed in the last year in its treatment of men towards women?' The second question was directed at me by Lisa. And just to put this in context, I had been named, I had been accused, [of] sexual misconduct last November the 7th. I was asked to remember something that had happened 30 years previously. It was apparently a flirtation that I was involved in and did not know was not consensual.
'And her question to me was, 'Richard, did you express your shame because you had worked at realising that you had done something shameful, or because you had been accused and caught out?
'So, why they had made such a point of repeating that we were doing to have a 'light and friendly' chat, while keeping their real questions so secret, I have no idea. But they never asked me to have the chat they wanted to have. I think I might have said yes, had they asked it in the proper tone of voice.
'Instead, they chose to commit a breach of ethical behaviour, meant to be malignant and sly, and known as wrong by every journalist in the world -- unless you're talking to someone who you're trying to entrap because you think that he's a murderer or a rapist.
'The behaviour of those through whom you get your news is the reason I'm here this morning. It is not about my alleged behaviour then, now or ever. You can dismiss what I am saying now as I am being defensive, and the television personalities involved will just continue to confuse what is right and what is wrong behaviour.'
When hosts Sonia Kruger and David Campbell asked Dreyfuss if he had said everything he wanted to say, he said, 'I think I have said my piece, yes.'