Hoffman and Oliver clash
Host slams actor over allegation of sexual harassment
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.” WENN
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.
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.