US actor Richard Dreyfuss has hit out at Network Ten’s The Sunday Project and host Lisa Wilkinson after he was unexpectedly questioned about an allegation of inappropriate sexual behaviour.
Appearing on Nine’s Today on Thursday, the actor – who is best known for his roles in Mr Holland’s Opus and Jaws – read out a statement scolding Wilkinson and her co-host Hamish McDonald and comparing them to petty criminals.
“I was mugged the other night in Sydney, Australia,” the 70-year-old said, “Not by a petty thief but by the host and hostesses of a talk show called The Project.”
Seeming visibly shaken as he read from his notes, Dreyfuss then went on to say that the invitation to speak on the show was specified to be “light and friendly”, however, it was the opposite.
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Last year, Richard was accused of sexual misconduct in an alleged incident that happened 30 years prior.
“It was apparently a flirtation that I was involved in and did not know was not consensual,” he said.
“And her [Wilkinson] question to me was, ‘Richard did you express your shame because you had worked at realising you had done something shameful or because you had been accused and caught out?’”
“So why they had made such a point of repeating we were going 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 or the television personalities involved will just continue to confuse what is right and what is wrong behaviour.”
Richard spoke for three minutes without interruption, as the Today hosts Sonia Kruger and David Campbell remained silent.
Be has contacted to Network Ten for comment.
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