World

John Oliver grills Dustin Hoffman over sexual harassment allegation

John Oliver grills Dustin Hoffman over sexual harassment allegation

Last night, HBO host John Oliver confronted screen legend Dustin Hoffman over his sexual harassment allegations during an awkward 45-minute public Q&A.

In November, Anna Graham Hunter accused Hoffman of sexually harassing her on the set of the 1985 TV film Death of a Salesman in a piece published by The Hollywood Reporter.

"It's hanging in the air?"

"I'm asking my agent, my publicist, 'What do I do now?'" Hoffman said, "And they say what you can't do, or what's not a good idea to do, is that if you get into a dispute, it lengthens the argument".

Oliver's exchange with Hoffman became more heated when the Last Week Tonight personality addressed his official apology. After she came forward, writer and producer Wendy Riss Gatsounis alleged Hoffman had propositioned her inappropriately during a pitch meeting in 1991.

Hoffman apologised following the claim, saying he has "the utmost respect for women" and that he feels "terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation".

She was 17-year-old production intern at the time and says, "He was openly flirtatious, he grabbed my ass, he talked about sex to me and in front of me".

Dustin Hoffman in Death of a Salesman in 1985
Image Dustin Hoffman in Death of a Salesman in 1985

"I believe what she wrote, yes", the host replied.

When Hoffman, 80, said the incidents did not occur how Hunter claims, John said: 'It's that part of the response to this stuff that pisses me off.

"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", he added.

The hour-long session ended shortly after, as the two were unable to move past the issue.

Another part of the discussion saw Oliver say he was "glad" that he was not there on set at the time of the alleged sexual misconduct. Then he said, 'I'll have a hard-boiled egg ... and a soft-boiled clitoris.' His entourage burst out laughing. Why the...didn't I say something?

Hoffman, though, doesn't agree and replied saying "It's hard to ask that question, you weren't there", to which Oliver counter-replied "I'm glad". "You've made one statement in print", Oliver said. Asked why, Oliver said, "Because there's no point in her lying". The exchange, however, marked a rarity in the post-Harvey Weinstein era, which has seen accused harassers generally offer short statements, if they replied at all, about the allegations made against them; very few have engaged in long public conversations about it, and nearly none have sounded as defiant as Hoffman did Monday night. Let it go", and "Thank you for believing women", Oliver added, "I can't leave certain things unaddressed. "No one stands up to powerful men", he said.

"You've made a very quick judgement", said Hoffman.