Published: Wed, December 06, 2017
Research | By Derrick Holloway

John Oliver grills Dustin Hoffman over sexual harassment during film screening

John Oliver grills Dustin Hoffman over sexual harassment during film screening

At a panel discussion in NY celebrating the 20th anniversary of the movie Wag the Dog, he took the film's star Dustin Hoffman to task over a past allegation of sexual harassment against the actor.

"This is something we're going to have to talk about because ... it's hanging in the air", Oliver began, alluding to Hunter's accusation.

"It's hanging in the air?" responded Hoffman.

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've made one statement in print - does that feel like enough to you?"

Hoffman issued an apology last month, saying that he didn't mean to put anyone in an "uncomfortable situation".

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"First of all, it didn't happen the way she reported", Hoffman replied, before suggesting that the apology he had made in response to the allegations had been misconstrued as an admission of guilt by the press.

Hoffman apologised following the allegation, saying he has "the utmost respect for women and feel awful that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation", and that his alleged behaviour "is not reflective of who I am".

He told Hoffman: "It is reflective of who you were".

At a few points, Oliver read directly from Hunter's account, including a diary excerpt in which she wrote, "Dustin is a pig, but I like him a lot". After a heated back and forth, Hoffman said to Oliver, "You weren't there". He added, "I've never met her" and if they did come into contact, it was involving other people.

In response, Oliver flat-out said that he did "because she would have no reason to lie". "It IS reflective of who you were", he continued.

"You also have the way men and women worked together [in the past]; you are in a situation where 'that was then, this is now, '" Rosenthal said. "'Why...didn't I say something?' No one stands up to powerful men".

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The hour-long session ended shortly after, as the two were unable to move past the issue. At a screening commemorating the 20th anniversary of the film "Wag the Dog", Oliver asked the Oscar-winning actor about the claims made against him recently by an actress.

So much so, that Oliver felt obligated to extract something more substantial from Hoffman on Monday.

As the crowd sighed in disappointment, Oliver put his head in his hand, saying sadly "Oh Dustin".

"Why?" asked Hoffman, who had accused the moderator of not keeping an open mind. But another woman drew loud cheers when she said to Oliver, "Thank you for believing women". John Oliver then said, "I'm happy I wasn't".

After Hunter published her allegations, other stories surfaced about Hoffman's alleged inappropriate behaviour with former co-stars. While Hoffman apologised for anything that he "might have done", Oliver slammed his response as a "cop out", failing to take responsibility or acknowledge "if" he did anything wrong.

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