John Oliver questions Dustin Hoffman over sexual misconduct allegations

Cesar Mills
December 7, 2017

A panel conversation exploded on Monday night when HBO late night host John Oliver ripped into Dustin Hoffman about allegations of sexual misconduct and the actor's denials, prompting a vehement reaction from Hoffman.

Oliver went on to question the language used by Hoffman in his public statement responding to Hunter's accusations, in which the actor insisted that he had "the utmost respect for women", and said that if he had done anything to put anyone "in an uncomfortable situation" then such behaviour was "not reflective" of who he is.

In response to this, Hoffman said "You weren't there", prompting Oliver to say "I'm glad". I have the utmost respect for women and feel bad that any thing I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation.

Hunter published her encounters with Hoffman, including the contents of a diary she wrote at the time, in the Hollywood Reporter in November. "Thank you for believing women", shouted another. "Well, there's a point in her not bringing it up for 40 years", Hoffman said.

The 80-year-old actor went on to say "I said a stupid thing" but explained that the cast and crew were like a family and that things like "sex" were discussed to break up the monotony of work.

Hoffman had said in an earlier statement that the incident "is not reflective of who I am", which Oliver seized on and called a "cop-out", adding: "It is reflective of who you were".

"You're right I wasn't there", Oliver said.

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Oliver found Hoffman's response rather interesting considering he previously released a comment stating his behavior on that set was "not reflective of" who he is. Hunter was 17 years old, and alleges that Hoffman harassed and assaulted her while she was interning on set. Importantly, the director of that film immediately came out and, despite knowing he would surely get backlash within the now extremely toxic environment, strongly defended Hoffman, saying that he remembers the situation very differently.

Per Deadline, Oliver "brought up the current climate around sexual harassment in show business" about 20 minutes into the 45-minute Q&A, and began asking for comments from the panelists. His show, Last Week Tonight, has become a platform of sorts in championing truth and justice over all, which has significantly impacted culture as we know it.

John Oliver, left, and Dustin Hoffman.

Hoffmann has also been accused of groping by Katharine Ross, his co-star on The Graduate, as well as the writer Wendy Riss Gatsiounis, who accused him of hitting on her during a 1991 pitch meeting. This conversation, as uncomfortable as it was, is exactly the kind of frank confrontation that needs to happen if this cultural moment of reckoning is going to move forward. "Because what can seem completely fine or normal to a certain group of people can have victims at the other end of it" Oliver said.

To this, Hoffman turned to Wag the Dog director Barry Levinson and dismissively asked, "Am I the powerful man?" .

The incident took place amidst a widening of a sexual abuse scandal across Hollywood following the emergence of allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein, which has also implicated the likes of Kevin Spacey, CK Louis, and Brett Ratner.

Other reports by GizPress

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