John Oliver grilled Dustin Hoffman on allegations of sexual misconduct during a panel discussion that took place prior to a 20th anniversary screening of the movie Wag the Dog, The Washington Post reports.
In recent weeks, two women accused Hoffman of sexual misconduct. Anna Graham Hunter said that Hoffman groped her and made inappropriate comments when she was a 17-year-old intern on the set of the 1985 TV movie Death of a Salesman. Hunter’s allegations were the crux of the heated back-and-forth between Hoffman and Oliver. In addition to Hunter, writer Wendy Riss Gatsiounis claimed Hoffman made inappropriate comments to her during a pitch meeting in 1991. Hoffman’s Graduate co-star Katharine Ross also alleged the actor groped her.
Hoffman vehemently denied Hunter’s allegations and accused Oliver of making “an incredible assumption about me.” He also brought up the statement he issued in response to Hunter’s allegations, stressing that the statement hedged on words like “if” and “might” and reiterating his belief he never met Hunter, let alone groped her. “I still don’t know who this woman is,” Hoffman said. “I never met her. If I met her it was in concert with other people.”
Oliver said he found Hoffman’s apology lacking and criticized him for claiming his behavior was “not reflective of who I am.” “It’s that kind of response to this stuff that pisses me off,” Oliver said. “It is reflective of who you were. If you’ve given no evidence to show it didn’t [happen] then there was a period of time for a while when you were a creeper around women. It feels like a cop-out to say ‘it wasn’t me.’ Do you understand how that feels like a dismissal?”
Oliver and Hoffman’s back-and-forth enveloped the rest of the panel discussion, which also featured Robert De Niro, director Barry Levinson and producer Jane Rosenthal. At one point, Rosenthal attempted quell the conversation, saying the onstage argument wouldn’t “do any good.” “We have a platform here,” she added. “How are we moving [the issue] forward?”
But even when Oliver reportedly tried to move the conversation back towards Wag the Dog, Hoffman steered it back towards harassment. The actor continued to defend himself, at one point even touting his role in Tootsie, saying, “I would not have made that movie if I didn’t have an incredible respect for women.” Hoffman also criticized Oliver for not having an “open mind” and asked the Last Week Tonight host if he believed “this stuff you read?”
“Yes,” Oliver said. “Because there’s no point in [an accuser] lying.” To which Hoffman replied, “Well, there’s a point in her not bringing it up for 40 years.” Oliver then reportedly put his head in his hands and said, “Oh, Dustin.”