John Oliver is not afraid to stand up to a powerful Hollywood player–even in a room of well-heeled socialites at a pricey event on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Late Monday night, while hosting a Q& A at the 92 nd Street Y prior to a 20 th-anniversary screening of the Barry Levinson campaign satire Wag the Dog , the comedian grilled screen legend Dustin Hoffman about the sexual-misconduct accusations against him–including from Anna Graham Hunter, who claimed that Hoffman fondled and sexually harassed her on the situated of the 1985 TV movie Death of a Salesman when she was a 17 -year-old intern, and TV producer Wendy Riss Gatsiounis, who told Variety that Hoffman sexually propositioned her during a pitching session.
” This is something we’re going to have to talk about because … it’s hanging in the air ,” Oliver told Hoffman during the onstage Q& A, where he was joined by co-star Robert De Niro, Levinson, and the Tribeca Institute’s Jane Rosenthal, according to The Washington Post .
” It’s hanging in the air ?” Hoffman responded.” From a few things you’ve read you’ve made an incredible premise about me … You’ve stimulated the suit better than anyone else can. I’m guilty .”
At the time of Hunter’s allegation, Hoffman issued the following statement:” I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible 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 .”
Oliver brought up that “apology” during the course of its Q& A, telling Hoffman,” You’ve induced one statement in print. Does that feel like enough to you ?”
” First of all, it didn’t happen, the way she reported ,” Hoffman replied.
The Last Week Tonight host then addressed the” It is not reflective of who I am” section of Hoffman’s public statement, saying,” It’s that part of the response to this material that pisses me off. It is reflective of who you two are. You’ve given no indication to show that it didn’t happen. There was a period of time when you were a creeper around ladies. It feels like a cop-out to say,’ Well, this isn’t me .’ Do you understand how that feels like a dismissal ?”
” You weren’t there ,” Hoffman fired back, to which Oliver reacted, “I’m glad.”
” You’ve threw me on display here ,” argued Hoffman.” You have indicted me … That’s not innocent until proven guilty .”
According to reports, Oliver then read from Hunter’s guest column in The Hollywood Reporter , which led to the following tense exchange between comedian and performer:
” Do you believe this material “youre reading” ?” Hoffman asked.
“Yes,” said Oliver.” Because there’s no point in[ Hunter] lying .”
” Well, there’s a phase in her not bringing it up for 40 times ,” Hoffman replied.
” Oh Dustin ,” Oliver killed back.
Those aforementioned Upper East Siders in the audience grew uneasy as the interrogation gone on, with one person wailing” Move on !” while another woman reportedly hollered,” Thank you for belief wives !”
Oliver explained that he brought up the sexual-abuse accusations because” we’re about to watch a movie where sexual harassment is an under-plot and there’s an elephant in the room because this conversation is not being had .”
Rosenthal then attempted to shifting the conversation, responding,” It wasn’t being developed by Weinstein Co. or Miramax, so you don’t have a really big conversation. Kevin Spacey wasn’t starring in it. Let’s look at real sexual criminal predators .”
” That’s a low bar ,” said Oliver.
The comic further expanded on his rationale for bringing up the allegations thusly:” I can’t leave certain things unaddressed. The easy route is not to bring anything up. Regrettably that leaves me at home subsequently at night detesting myself. Why … didn’t I say something? No one stands up to powerful humankinds .”
” Am I the powerful humankind ?” asked Hoffman, incredulously.
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