Wednesday, December 06, 2017
HBO host John Oliver hammered Dustin Hoffman about allegations of sexual harassment and the actor fired back with a ferocious defense, as a seemingly benign screening became an explosive conversation about Hollywood sexual misconduct on Monday night. "This is something we're going to have to talk about because ... it's hanging in the air," Oliver said to Hoffman at the discussion, an anniversary screening of the film Wag the Dog. He was alluding to an allegation made by Anna Graham Hunter last month that Hoffman groped her and made inappropriate comments when she was a 17-year-old intern on the set of the 1985 TV movie "Death of a Salesman." "It's hanging in the air?" Hoffman said. "From a few things you've read, you've made an incredible assumption about me," he noted, adding sarcastically, "You've made the case better than anyone else can. I'm guilty."
About halfway through the hour-long talk, Oliver brought up the issue to Hoffman, saying he found the actor's statements about the matter wanting. Nearly the entire rest of the discussion was then dominated by Oliver, Hoffman and the subject of sexual harassment.
Hoffman had offered a conditional apology at the time of the allegation, and on Monday he underscored an "if" included in that statement, noting several times that he didn't really believe he had done anything wrong. He said that he had not engaged in groping, that he didn't recall meeting Graham Hunter and that all his comments on set were simply how members of "a family" talked to one another.
"I still don't know who this woman is," Hoffman said. "I never met her; if I met her, it was in concert with other people."
Oliver dismissed that as insufficient, then cited Hoffman's response at the time of the allegation that the actor's behavior on set was "not reflective of" who he really is.
"It's 'not reflective of who I am' -- it's that kind of response to this stuff that pisses me off," Oliver said. "It is reflective of who you were. 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?"
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