A starry anniversary discussion of the film Wag the Dog turned testy on 4 December when moderator John Oliver confronted Dustin Hoffman about allegations of sexual harassment.
Hoffman seemed blindsided and defensive by the line of questioning from the host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight. Hoffman explained the accusation was 40 years old. “I don’t love that response either,” Oliver said. Hoffman shot back: “What response do you want?” Hoffman maintained that he did nothing wrong.
Actress Anna Graham Hunter has alleged 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.
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.” Hoffman complained: “You’ve put me on display here.”
The back-and-forth came at a 20th-anniversary screening panel at the 92nd Street Y. Onstage in addition to Oliver and Hoffman were Robert De Niro, producer Jane Rosenthal and director Barry Levinson.
“I get no pleasure from having this conversation,” Oliver said. Referring to Hoffman, he added: “But you and I are not the victims here.”
The exchange was reported by The Washington Post, which also posted a video of part of the conversation.
Actor Terry Crews, who has been outspoken about his own experience as a victim of sexual harassment and filed a lawsuit against his alleged attacker on 5 December, tweeted his support to Oliver.
For things to truly change, men must hold other men accountable.
Thank you @iamjohnoliver, for being an example of what true manhood looks like.
— terrycrews (@terrycrews) December 5, 2017
Oliver has received immense support and praise from the Twitter community as they have applauded his actions of holding Hoffman accountable for his deeds. Tweets poured in from everywhere and people commended the British comedian for calling Hoffman out.
We don’t need to hear about how you are the father of daughters.
We don’t need to hear how much you care.
**We need you to do what John Oliver did**
Hold them accountable.
— Brianna Wu (@Spacekatgal) December 5, 2017
John Oliver rightly roasted Dustin Hoffman with a quickness because it’s 2017 not 1975.
More guys need to grow a pair and call out men who continue to embarrass our gender because they are so utterly unappealing to other women and/or men.
— Jenius (@PersianCeltic) December 5, 2017
Even if John Oliver was out of line in his questioning of Dustin Hoffman, I couldn’t care less. Oliver did something more men need to do: He demanded answers and didn’t turn a blind eye to sexual assault accusations. — shannon (@attilathehoneyb) December 5, 2017
People are saying how uncomfortable Dustin Hoffman was when John Oliver questioned him about the sexual harassment allegations. Well imagine how uncomfortable that 17 yr old girl was when Dustin did what he did smh — MosMoney (@itsmosmoney) December 5, 2017
. @iamjohnoliver does the right thing even when it’s super hard and uncomfortable. He uses his power for good & stands up for others even when he doesn’t have to. He never shies away from speaking up for what he believes in. THIS is why he’s my idol 👏👏👏 https://t.co/R2Vff3Xl1o — Oliverist ❤️ (@ilovejohnoliver) December 5, 2017
Survivors have been telling their stories of harassment & assault. It’s past time for men to have these kinds of difficult conversations with each other, publicly & privately. I’m glad John Oliver confronted Dustin Hoffman at this event, & this quote is 🔥 https://t.co/LAZ0x5ZYmT pic.twitter.com/vVzjxJcBXI
— Mo Ryan (@moryan) December 5, 2017
After showdown between John Oliver and Dustin Hoffman, Hollywood has no ‘safe space’ from hard conversations … – Washington Post https://t.co/DSB9i20c7U
— Hollywood watchs (@Hollywoodwatchs) December 6, 2017
Watch excerpts of the discussion between John Oliver and Dustin Hoffman here
(With inputs from AP)