John Oliver did something not many celebrities have been able to do in recent months: force a conversation with an accused sexual harasser in a public arena.
Oliver confronted accused groper Dustin Hoffman at a New York City panel discussion Monday night, which was ostensibly held to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the film Wag the Dog.
Nobody on that podium, however, was thinking about the 1997 political satire after Oliver went after Hoffman, who has been accused of inappropriately touching a 17-year-old on the set of a 1985 rendition of Death of a Salesman.
Oliver started by calling Hoffman’s initial apology a “cop-out.” Here is that apology, for your perusal.
“I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation,” the actor said upon being accused. “I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am.”
Oliver continued to pile on Hoffman, deriding the apology.
“It’s that kind of response to this stuff that pisses me off because it is reflective of who you were if it happened and you’ve given no evidence to show that it didn’t happen,” he said. “It feels like a cop-out to say ‘It wasn’t me.’ Do you understand how that feels like a dismissal?”
Hoffman offered a chilly and sarcastic response, accusing Oliver of jumping to conclusions.
“From a few things you’ve read, you’ve made an incredible assumption about me,” he said. “You’ve made the case better than anyone else can. I’m guilty.”
Oliver actually read a statement from Hoffman’s accuser, Anna Graham Hunter, in which she said “Dustin’s a pig, but I like him a lot.”
“Do you believe this stuff you read?” Hoffman asked of her comments.
“Yes,” Oliver replied. “Because there’s no point in [an accuser] lying.”
Hoffman responded with the well-worn defense that if an accuser doesn’t bring up a sexual harassment allegation for a number of years, that throws the accuracy of said accusation into question.
“Well, there’s a point in her not bringing it up for 40 years,” Hoffman said.
As the crowd sighed in disappointment, Oliver put his head in his hand, saying sadly “Oh Dustin.”
Watch above, via The Washington Post.
[image via screenshot]