John Oliver became embroiled in a tense debate with Dustin Hoffman at a film panel last night after he tackled the iconic actor over allegations of sexual harassment.
The Last Week Tonight host was chairing a panel and screening of 1997 film Wag The Dog when he grilled 80-year-old Hoffman, with the actor subsequently accusing him of “making a very quick judgment”.
“This is something we’re going to have to talk about because… it’s hanging in the air,” Oliver said, referring to the claims that Hoffman sexually harassed 17-year-old production assistant Anna Graham-Hunter on the set of 1985 movie Death of a Salesman.
He then went on to describe how he was “pissed off” at Hoffman’s original apology, in which he claimed that the behaviour is not indicative of his character.
“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 a creeper around women. It feels like a cop-out to say, ‘Well, this isn’t me.’ Do you understand how that feels like a dismissal?”
Washington Post journalist Steven Zeitchik was present at the panel, and provided updates on the tense back and forth, with Hoffman reportedly accusing Oliver of “unquestionably believing accusers”.
At one point Hoffman reportedly became ‘visibly uncomfortable’ and told Oliver “You weren’t there”.
“I’m happy I wasn’t”, Oliver tersely responded.
After Hoffman attempted to explain his behaviour, the TV host then reportedly expressed why he had a duty to address the claims.
“I can’t leave certain things unaddressed,” he reportedly said.
“That leads to me at home later tonight hating myself, asking, “Why the f*** didn’t I say something? No one stands up to powerful men.'”
Alongside the allegations faced by Hoffman on the set of Death of A Salesman, writer and producer Wendy Riss Gatsiounis also came forward last month to claim that Hoffman propositioned her during a pitch metting.
Hoffman is yet to respond to her claims.