Hollywood star Richard Dreyfuss has said the #MeToo movement kicked due process “into the ocean”.
In 2017, the actor denied claims by a TV writer that he exposed himself to her in the ’80s.
Asked whether he welcomes the #MeToo movement, the 72-year-old Jaws star told the Guardian: “Not at the cost of the loss of due process.
“Unfortunately, it became immediately equating an accusation being heard as a verdict.
“Women have been abused by men for millennia, but it’s not something that’s going to be solved by committing an equal or worse crime, which is kicking process into the ocean.”
He said he “was a bad guy for a number of years” but “everything I ever did I thought was consensual”.
Jessica Teich, an LA writer, accused Dreyfuss of making overt and lewd comments over the course of several years after they met at a theatre where she worked.
Teich also claimed that the Oscar-winner exposed his genitals to her in his studio trailer in 1987 when she was working for him on an ABC show script.
Dreyfuss responded in a statement to Vulture, saying: “I emphatically deny ever exposing myself to Jessica Teich, whom I have considered a friend for 30 years.”
He added that he did flirt with her and remembered trying to kiss her as part of what he considered a “consensual seduction ritual that went on and on for many years”.
He said: “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.”
The #MeToo movement took off in Hollywood following allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, who was accused of sexual misconduct following a New York Times investigation in 2017.
Weinstein was later convicted of rape and sexual assault and jailed for 23 years.