Wednesday 15 August 2018

Dustin Hoffman battles John Oliver in heated harassment claims discussion

The discussion is said to have been very tense and lasted for around 30 minutes.

Dustin Hoffman
Dustin Hoffman

By Lucy Mapstone, Press Association Deputy Entertainment Editor

Dustin Hoffman accused John Oliver of putting him “on display” as they engaged in a heated discussion about the sexual harassment allegations against the actor during a film Q&A, according to a US report.

The Last Week Tonight host grilled Hoffman during a tense exchange at a 20th anniversary screening of his film Wag The Dog in New York, with Oliver saying that he thought the Oscar-winning actor’s apology over harassment claims felt like a “dismissal”, The Washington Post has reported.

In November, author Anna Graham Hunter claimed that Hoffman had demanded she give him a foot rub and made sexually explicit comments to her on the set of 1985 film Death Of A Salesman, when she was 17 and he was in his late forties.

Hoffman apologised following the allegation, saying he has “the utmost respect for women and feel terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation”, and that his alleged behaviour “is not reflective of who I am.”

During the Q&A panel, Oliver reportedly said to Hoffman: “This is something we’re going to have to talk about because… it’s hanging in the air.”

Hoffman replied: “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.”

Hoffman, 80, said he did not recall having met Graham Hunter, and added: “If I met her it was in concert with other people.”

Oliver is then said to have dismissed Hoffman’s apology, adding that is “that kind of response to this stuff that pisses me off”.

He told Hoffman: “It is reflective of who you were.”

Oliver added it felt like a “cop-out to say ‘it wasn’t me’,” and that Hoffman’s response may feel “like a dismissal”.

Hoffman said that Oliver was “putting him on display” during the panel and that he was unaware that the sexual harassment allegation would be part of the discussion.

According to the report, the tension grew as the discussion continued for around 30 minutes.

Hoffman said that Oliver was not keeping an “open mind” and asked if he believes “this stuff you read”, in relation to the ongoing sexual misconduct claims that have plagued the film industry in recent months, sparked by allegations against Harvey Weinstein.

“Yes. Because there’s no point in [an accuser] lying,” Oliver said.

Hoffman said: “Well, there’s a point in her not bringing it up for 40 years.”

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.

According to The Washington Post, the other members on the panel – producer Jane Rosenthal and director Barry Levinson – are said to have tried to jump in to defuse the situation.

Graham Hunter had shared a diary of her time working on the film in a guest column published in US trade magazine The Hollywood Reporter, in which she wrote that Hoffman “sexually harassed” her, and that “he was a predator”.

Press Association

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