Comedian John Oliver confronted Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman on stage about a sexual harassment accusation, offering an audience in NY on Monday a rare glimpse of a powerful man facing live questions about such an allegation. Anna Grahame-Hunter, a 17-year-old intern on the set of 1985's Death of a Salesman claims Hoffman groped her and made inappropriate comments, while writer Wendy Riss Gatsiounis also claims inappropriate comments made toward her during a 1991 pitch. In a six-minute (edited) video taken by a journalist who was attending the panel discussion, Hoffman is seen asking Oliver if he actually believed "the stuff you're reading" and questioning why Graham Hunter hadn't come forward with her story in over three decades - something that earned him an "Oh, Dustin" and an exasperated sigh from Oliver.
Hoffman responded with a public apology saying: "I have the utmost respect for women and feel awful that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation". I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am.
The Last Week Tonight show host John Oliver addressed Dustin Hoffman's official apology for th esexual harassment claims made against him.
"It's that part of it, and I'm not the moral officer of anything, it's just, "It's 'not reflective of who I am".it's that kind of response to this stuff that pisses me off", Oliver said.
Zeitchik added, after sometime, Hoffman touched upon the debate and accused Oliver of being biased and "unquestionably believing accusers".
Oliver, host of a weekly show on HBO that analyses and satirises the news, discussed Hoffman's statement while moderating a panel to mark the 20th anniversary of the film Wag the Dog, starring Hoffman.
"I get no pleasure from having this conversation", Oliver said. "It feels like a cop-out to say, 'It wasn't me.' Do you understand how that feels like a dismissal?" "That you go by a couple of things you read".
He added, "What makes me sad is that I grew up in an environment in which we were taught to want the girls on the covers of magazines, the models, and I said to my wife 'Look at how many interesting women I passed up ... look at how many women were erased by me because of the generation I was born.' That was a very strong reason for me wanting to make that movie".
"This is a story I've told so often I'm sometimes surprised when someone I know hasn't heard it".
"Well, there's a point in her not bringing it up for 40 years", Hoffman said.
Eventually, Hoffman cited his experience acting in the film Tootsie, in which he played a man who dressed as a woman, and said: 'How could I have made that movie if I didn't have incredible respect for women?'
Hoffman asked, "Why?" Oliver said, "Because there's no point in her lying".
"Am I the powerful man?"
"Well I'm trying harder than you are", Hoffman shot back.
"It's fascinating because of the dynamic", said Mara Reinstein, a former Us Weekly editor who specializes in media and celebrity.