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The Project Refutes Richard Dreyfuss 'Mugging' Claim On #MeToo Interview

"The Project would not have him on the program without addressing these issues".

The Project has returned fire at actor Richard Dreyfuss, disputing his claim a recent interview on the show was a "mugging".

"At no stage did the program attempt to catch-out or entrap Mr Dreyfuss and it was never the intention of The Project panel to offend him," a spokesperson for Network Ten said.

On Thursday, Dreyfuss appeared on Channel Nine's Today Extra program, saying he wanted to "clarify" his comments made on The Sunday Project after he was asked about sexual misconduct allegations from a former staff member. The Today Extra hosts sat in silence as they allowed him to read a lengthy prepared statement off paper.

Richard Dreyfuss On The Sunday Project

“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," he said.

On Thursday, a Ten spokesperson refuted Dreyfuss' claims he was not informed of the questions that would be asked, and claimed an interview brief was provided to the publicist of the Supanova conference he was attending.

“The Project rejects claims that Mr Dreyfuss was misled," the spokesperson said.

"In written correspondence with the Supanova publicist, an interview brief was provided three days prior which included the line of questioning The Project panel would put to both Richard Dreyfuss and Kathleen Turner. This included a discussion about their appearances at Supanova but also that the panel would address the #MeToo campaign and Mr Dreyfuss’ behaviour towards women in decades past."

Given the public allegations made about Mr Dreyfuss, The Project would not have him on the program without addressing these issues and Mr Dreyfuss’ publicist was made aware of this.

"At no stage did the program attempt to catch-out or entrap Mr Dreyfuss and it was never the intention of The Project panel to offend him.”

Dreyfuss and fellow Hollywood star Kathleen Turner appeared on The Sunday Project last week, where the pair were asked by hosts Hamish McDonald and Lisa Wilkinson -- executive editor of ten daily -- about how the entertainment industry had changed since the #MeToo movement.

Dreyfuss claimed he had been asked on The Project for a "light and friendly" interview. However, the interview soon turned to allegations of sexual misconduct levelled at him by a former colleague last year, as well as his past romantic behaviour which he has previously admitted "revolts" him.

"I sinned. Between the years like '79 and '82 or '83, I was a low down dirty dog. I did lots of things that I'm ashamed of now, but they were all culturally supported, as all men know, and all women know, they just don't want to remember it that way," he said on The Project.

"My motto was 'if you don't flirt, you die'. Because I love women, that's what we're built to do. You just have to think it's consensual, know it's consensual. The idea that it would not be consensual, that it was kept from me, that knowledge, is horrifying, nor do I believe it."

As Turner shifted in her seat and looked uncomfortable, Dreyfuss continued.

"There are lines one doesn't cross. In these instances, you cannot or should not accuse someone of a crime before the crime has been defined, and when a mortal sin is mixed up with a venial sin. When a misdemeanour is mixed with a felony, that's time to be reflective," he said.

On Today Extra, Dreyfus claimed The Project kept their questions "secret" and called the interview "a breach of ethical behaviour".

"I assure you that in my country, there is an enormous decay going on, an assault and drowning of this kind of trickery is going on every day," he said.