Comedian and HBO late-night host John Oliver confronted Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman Monday at a Tribeca Film panel over allegations of sexual harassment.
The confrontation took place a month after Hoffman apologized over allegations that he sexually harassed a 17-year-old high school student while filming 1985 drama Death of a Salesman.
“I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation,” he said at the time. “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 said to Hoffman during the Q&A panel discussion for the political film Wag the Dog. “You’ve made one statement in print. Does that feel like enough to you?”
“It’s hanging in the air?” Hoffman responded, according to a Washington Postreport. “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.”
“First of all, it didn’t happen the way she reported,” Hoffman continued. “I still don’t know who this woman is. I never met her. If I met her it was in concert with other people.”
This photo was taken before #92Y panel discussion got v heated; John Oliver asked Dustin Hoffman about the sexual assault allegations against him… Hoffman denied knowing the woman. pic.twitter.com/xihbNt50fM
Oliver reacted angrily to Hoffman’s explanation, the Post noted, dismissing it as insufficient and took issue with Hoffman’s claim that it was “not reflective of” who he really is.
“It’s that part of the response to this stuff that pisses me off,” Oliver said. “It is reflective of who you were. You’ve given no evidence to show that it didn’t happen. There was a period of time when you were creeping 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 then urged Oliver to keep an open mind and pointed out that he “wasn’t there,” to which Oliver responded: “I’m glad.”
According to a Post reporter in attendance, Hoffman was left “visibly uncomfortable” by the confrontation and later accused Oliver of “putting [him] on display.”
The incident took place amidst a widening of a sexual abuse scandal across Hollywood following the emergence of allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein, which has also implicated the likes of Kevin Spacey, CK Louis, and Brett Ratner.
“I can’t leave certain things unaddressed,” Oliver later 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.”