AceShowbiz - John Oliver publicly sparred with Dustin Hoffman over sexual harassment claims made against the movie vet. The comedian confronted the 80-year-old about the allegations made by several women when Oliver served as a host and moderator at a 20th-anniversary event for Barry Levinson's "Wag the Dog" on Manhattan's Upper East Side on Monday night, December 4.
"This is something we're going to have to talk about because... it's hanging in the air," Oliver told Hoffman, who responded, "It's hanging in the air? From a few things you've read you've made an incredible assumption about me... You've made the case better than anyone else can. I'm guilty."
The "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" host then asked Hoffman about his official apology which he released via The Hollywood Reporter. "You've made one statement in print. Does that feel like enough to you?" he asked.
"First of all, it didn't happen, the way she reported," Hoffman replied. Regarding Anna Graham Hunter's claim that he made crude comments and groped her on the set of his TV movie "Death of a Salesman", he said, "I still don't know who this woman is. I never met her. If I met her, it was in concert with other people."
Oliver also took issue with a statement in Hoffman's apology in which he said that his behavior during filming was "not reflective of" who he was. "It's that kind of response to this stuff that pisses me off," the English funnyman said. "It is reflective of who you were. If it happened and you've given no evidence to show it didn't happen. Then there was a period of time for a while 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?"
"It's difficult to answer that question. You weren't there," Hoffman responded. Oliver scoffed back, "I'm glad." Hoffman then tried to explain, "We were doing this [acting on a set]. And to break it up - actors, people on crews know these things - you do these things. You say things. So suddenly, one of the things was, you come to work on Monday, 'Did you have sex Friday?' You break it up. Everyone was saying it to each other. It's a family. It becomes a family in which I said a stupid thing but I said it in the midst of the crew and they said their stupid things. But they were sexual in terms of the humor of it. That's 40 years ago."
Oliver said he didn't "love that response either." He added, "It feels like dismissals or recontextualizing it is not addressing it. It doesn't feel self-reflective in the way the incident demands. I get no pleasure from having this conversation but you and I are not the victims here."
Later, Hoffman asked Oliver, "Do you believe this stuff that you're reading?" Oliver said, "I believe what she wrote, yes. ... Because there's no point in her lying." Hoffman shot back, "Well, there is a point in her not bringing this up for 40 years." Oliver said, "Oh, Dustin. Christ," as he put his head in his hand.