Hollywood is struggling to stay afloat thanks to the avalanche of sexual assault accusations surfacing. The horrific allegations have only been made worse by the reactions from many of the men accused.
At a film screening in New York, comedian John Oliver took the chance to confront Dustin Hoffman about the allegations made by Anna Graham Hunter.
Hunter claims the actor groped her and made inappropriate comments when she was a 17-year-old intern on the set of Death of a Salesman in 1985.
Hoffman responded by insisting he had had “the utmost respect for women”, and said that if he had done anything to put anyone “in an uncomfortable situation” then such behaviour was “not reflective” of who he is.
“This is something we’re going to have to talk about because… it’s hanging in the air,” Oliver segued.
“It’s hanging in the air?” responded Hoffman. “From a few things you’ve read you’ve made an incredible assumption about me.”
“I’m not the moral arbiter of anything,” said Oliver. “It’s just that, ‘It’s not reflective of who I am’, 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 — then there was a period in time, for a while, when you were a creeper around women.
So it feels like a cop-out to say ‘well this isn’t me’.
“Do you understand how that feels like a dismissal?”
The conversation got heated with Hoffman casting aspersions on Hunter and asked why Oliver had proclivity to believe her.
“Because there’s no point in her lying,” the comedian replied.
Oliver told Hoffman that he was getting “no pleasure from having this conversation, but you and I are not the victims here.”
As the tension grew palpable, producer Jane Rosenthal tried to diffuse the situation by comparing Hoffman to other juggernauts accused of predatory behaviour.
“[The film] wasn’t produced by Weinstein or Miramax,” she said. “Kevin Spacey wasn’t starring in it. Let’s look at real sexual criminal predators.”
“That’s a low bar,” Oliver shot back.
Despite contemplating not bringing it up, Oliver decided he had an obligation to confront Hoffman over the allegations.
“I can’t leave certain things unaddressed,” he said. “The easy way is not to bring anything up. Unfortunately that leaves me at home later at night hating myself.”
“No one stands up to powerful men.”