Hoff­man and Oliver clash

Host slams ac­tor over al­le­ga­tion of sex­ual ha­rass­ment

Simcoe Reformer - Times-Reformer - - ENTERTAINMENT -

NEW YORK — Dustin Hoff­man had a tense ex­change with talk­show host John Oliver on Mon­day about the sex­ual ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions re­cently made about him.

Writer Anna Graham Hunter claimed in Novem­ber that Hoff­man, star of The Grad­u­ate, Toot­sie and other movies, ha­rassed her while work­ing on the TV movie Death of a Sales­man in 1985 when she was 17.

He apol­o­gized in Novem­ber, in­sist­ing he has the “ut­most re­spect” for women and adding the al­leged be­hav­iour “is not re­flec­tive of who I am.”

Hoff­man sat down Mon­day for a panel dis­cus­sion in New York ahead of the 20th-an­niver­sary screen­ing of his movie Wag the Dog along­side co-star Robert De Niro, pro­ducer Jane Rosenthal and di­rec­tor Barry Levin­son. Host Oliver made sure to bring up the al­le­ga­tion.

“You’ve made one state­ment in print ... Does that feel like enough to you?” Oliver asked Hoff­man, ac­cord­ing to Dead­line.com. The ac­tor replied, “First of all, it didn’t hap­pen the way she re­ported.”

“It’s that part of the re­sponse to this stuff that pisses me off,” Oliver said. “It IS re­flec­tive of who you were. You’ve given no ev­i­dence to show that it didn’t hap­pen. There was a pe­riod of time when you were creep­ing around women. It feels like a cop-out to say, ‘Well, this isn’t me.’ Do you un­der­stand how that feels like a dis­missal?”

Hoff­man hit back with, “You weren’ t there” and Oliver re­sponded, “I’m glad,” which re­port­edly drew gasps from the au­di­ence.

Hoff­man, 80, told Oliver, “You’ve put me on dis­play here ... You have in­dicted me ... That’s not in­no­cent un­til proven guilty,” be­fore go­ing on to ex­plain the at­mos­phere on the set of the movie, say­ing there was sex­u­ally charged ban­ter but it wasn’t meant in an of­fen­sive way.

“I don’t love that an­swer ei­ther,” Oliver said, to which Hoff­man replied, “What re­sponse do you want?” Oliver said, “It doesn’t feel self-re­flec­tive in the way it seems the in­ci­dent de­mands.”

The other pan­el­lists largely kept quiet dur­ing the dis­cus­sion, but Rosenthal later in­jected to get the talk back onto the film.

But Hoff­man later re­turned to the topic when they were talk­ing about how so­cial me­dia has dis­torted pol­i­tics and news.

“Well, it’s af­fected you in terms of your feel­ings about me,” he told Oliver. “The so-called, al­leged comments that are made are truth now ... And if you try to de­fend it, you’re guilty.”

ROBYN BECK/GETTY IMAGES

Ac­tor Dustin Hoff­man speaks at the 9th An­nual Gover­nors Awards gala hosted by the Academy of Mo­tion Pic­ture Arts and Sciences at the Hol­ly­wood & High­land Cen­ter in Hol­ly­wood, Calif., on Nov. 11.

FRED­ER­ICK M. BROWN/GETTY IMAGES

John Oliver speaks on­stage dur­ing the John Oliver panel of the HBO por­tion of the 2014 Win­ter Tele­vi­sion Crit­ics As­so­ci­a­tion tour at the Lang­ham Ho­tel in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 9, 2014.

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