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Date TimeDecember 05, 2017
Voice‘I can’t leave certain things unaddressed’, says talkshow host, who angrily questioned the actor about his ‘dismissal’ of harassment claims made against him

Dustin Hoffman confronted over abuse allegations by John Oliver at public Q&A

Dustin Hoffman and John Oliver became embroiled in a heated argument during a public Q&A, after Oliver confronted Hoffman about allegations of sexual harassment made against him.
According to a report in the Washington Post, the pair clashed midway through a 20th anniversary panel for the black comedy Wag the Dog that featured Hoffman and co-star Robert De Niro, as well as the film’s director Barry Levinson and producer Jane Rosenthal.



Satirist Oliver, who was hosting the panel, reportedly brought up the subject of sexual misconduct in Hollywood before directly asking Hoffman about historic allegations of harassment made against him by actor Anna Graham Hunter last month. Hunter claims that Hoffman groped her and made inappropriate comments when she was working as a 17-year-old intern on the set of a 1985 TV movie adaptation of Death of a Salesman.
At the time Hoffman responded in a statement in which he expressed remorse “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.”
“This is something we’re going to have to talk about because … it’s hanging in the air”, Oliver reportedly said at the Q&A, before asking the actor whether he felt that the single statement he had made was sufficient.
“First of all, it didn’t happen the way she reported,” Hoffman replied, before suggesting that the apology he had made in response to the allegations had been misconstrued as an admission of guilt by the press. “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.”
When Hoffman added that the alleged incident was not “reflective of who I am”, Oliver reacted angrily. “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], there was a period of time for a while when you were a creeper around women. It feels like a cop-out to say ‘well this isn’t me.’ Do you understand how that feels like a dismissal?”
Hoffman asked that Oliver “keep an open mind” about the claims made against him. He noted that Oliver “wasn’t there” at the time of the alleged incident, to which Oliver replied: “I’m glad I wasn’t.”
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The actor also discussed a story that recently resurfaced regarding a screen test for The Graduate, in which he allegedly touched co-star Katharine Ross, describing reports of the incident as “skewed”.
As the line of questioning continued Hoffman reportedly grew “visibly uncomfortable”. The actor accused Oliver of “putting me on display” at the Q&A, claiming that he hadn’t been told in advance that Oliver would raise the allegations at the event.
“I can’t leave certain things unaddressed,” the host said. “The easy way is not to bring anything up. Unfortunately that leaves me at home later at night hating myself. Why didn’t I say something? No one stands up to powerful men.”
According to Washington Post reporter Steve Zeitchik, who was in attendance, the confrontation between Oliver and Hoffman created a “testy” atmosphere, with audience members “arguing volubly” about whether Oliver should have raised the allegations against Hoffman. “Move on. Let it go. Move on,” one audience member is reported to have shouted, while another thanked Oliver for “believing women”.
The argument between Hoffman and Oliver comes at a time when Hollywood is having to reckon with a number of allegations of sexual misconduct made against men in the entertainment industry, including Harvey Weinstein, Brett Ratner, James Toback and Kevin Spacey.
Hoffman has been the subject of two claims of sexual harassment, with Hunter’s allegations followed by a claim from writer Wendy Riss Gatsiounis that the actor had harassed her during an audition in 1991. Hoffman is yet to make a statement regarding the allegations made by Riss Gatsiounis.

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