HBO host John Oliver and actor Dustin Hoffman, who has been accused of sexual misconduct, engaged in a verbal duel during a question-and-answer session held before a 20th anniversary screening of the film Wag the Dog.
In an interview with the Post on Tuesday, Hunter described her feelings about the Oliver-Hoffman incident, joining a chorus of people across entertainment who saw in it a potential new phase in the delicate tango among media, celebrity and the public.
"I have the utmost respect for women and feel awful that anything that I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation", Hoffman said in a statement released weeks ago. After a heated back and forth, Hoffman said to Oliver, "You weren't there".
Oliver called that a cop out and he wasn't any more patient about Hoffman's questioning why it took a woman 40 years to come forward. Another said, "Thank you for believing women".
"Well, there's a point in her not bringing it up for 40 years", Hoffman replied.
Much more recently, after Hunter published her harassment allegation in the Hollywood Reporter, another woman told Variety that Hoffman made sexually suggestive comments and propositioned her while she was pitching a film project to him in 1991.
"You've made one statement in print", Oliver said to Hoffman regarding the apology. "You've given no evidence to show that it didn't happen", Oliver said.
"Why?" asked Hoffman, who had accused the moderator of not keeping an open mind. It's a thing. You know, I don't know if you've ever been in that kind of situation.More news: East Contra Costa Fire Sends Strike Team to Los Angeles County
According to the Post, the 80-year-old actor proceeded to reinforce that he does not remember meeting Graham Hunter nor does he remember groping anyone. She added that "he didn't douse flames with a joke, either".
Hoffman also said that he "still" isn't sure who Hunter is.
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 was at that time married to wife Lisa Hoffman (née Gottsegen), they married in 1980 and they are still together.
We need the John Oliver treatment on all sexual harassment "apologies", stat. In the last six weeks, I've had a lot of conversations with female friends who admitted that they don't share their stories of harassment and assault with their male friends. "That leads to me at home later tonight hating myself, asking, 'Why the fuck didn't I say something?"
To this, Hoffman turned to Wag the Dog director Barry Levinson and dismissively asked, "Am I the powerful man?" .
Comedian John Oliver confronted Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman on stage about a sexual harassment accusation, offering an audience in NY on Monday a rare glimpse of a powerful man facing live questions about such an allegation.