Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Landmark Vineyards, Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Bob Woodruff Foundation
Dustin Hoffman (right) was called out by John Oliver for a sexual assault allegation during a panel discussion in New York Monday.
Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
John Oliver pulled no punches when he had the opportunity to question Dustin Hoffman on sexual assault allegations made against him.
The Washington Post reported that the HBO host and comedian was hosting a Tribeca Film panel Monday that included Hoffman, Robert De Niro, producer Jane Rosenthal and director Barry Levinson. Oliver began taking Hoffman to task on his response to an allegation made by Anna Graham Hunter in November.
“This is something we’re going to have to talk about because it’s hanging in the air,” Oliver said about half way through the hourlong discussion celebrating the 20th anniversary of the film “Wag the Dog.”
“It’s hanging in the air? From a few things you’ve read you’ve made an incredible assumption about me,” Hoffman said, before sarcastically saying, “You’ve made the case better than anyone else can. I’m guilty.”
When news of the accusations emerged Nov. 1, Hoffman responded by saying, “I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible 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.”
During the panel, Hoffman told Oliver, “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 still pressed, referencing Hoffman’s response to the THR story.
“It’s ‘not reflective of who I am’ — it’s that kind of response to this stuff that pisses me off. It is reflective of who you were,” Oliver said. “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. It feels like a cop-out to say, ‘It wasn’t me.’ Do you understand how that feels like a dismissal?”
The Washington Post reported that Hoffman accused Oliver of blindsiding him because he had not been informed that the allegations would be discussed.
The publication said that Oliver attempted to move on and discuss “Wag the Dog,” but Hoffman returned to the subject of sexual harassment. At one point, Hoffman said his role in “Tootsie” supports his respect for women.
“I would not have made that movie if I didn’t have an incredible respect for women,” Hoffman said. “The theme of the movie is he became a better man by having been a woman.”
After continued discussion, some in the audience became annoyed. The Post reported one woman was heard shouting at Oliver, “Move on. Let it go,” as others cheered on a woman who said, “Thank you for believing women.”
“I can’t leave certain things unaddressed,” Oliver said. “The easy way is not to bring anything up. Unfortunately that leaves me at home later at night hating myself. ‘Why the ... didn’t I say something? No one stands up to powerful men.’”