John Oliver publicly spars with Dustin Hoffman over sexual harassment claims

Dustin Hoffman and John Oliver became embroiled in a heated argument during a public Q&A, after Oliver confronted Hoffman about allegations of sexual harassment made against him.

Hoffman, 80, went on to explain that it was normal to use subjects like sex as a joke on-set within the confines of the crew, which he said were like "family".

"It's hanging in the air?". Hoffman shot back. "From a few things you've read you've made an incredible assumption about me".

"You take it, 'This is an assaulter, this is a female assaulter, he's admitted it, '" he said, adding he felt like he was "put on display" at the panel meant to be focused on something else. "I'm guilty", he added.

Producer Wendy Riss Gatsiounis has accused the actor of propositioning her in 1991, which he declined to comment on.

Hoffman released a statement to THR following Hunter's column that read, "I have the utmost respect for women and feel bad that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation". Hunter was 17 years old, and alleges that Hoffman harassed and assaulted her while she was interning on set.

"You've made a very quick judgement", said Hoffman.

"I believe what she wrote, yes", the host replied.

In the video the audience can be heard gasping at Hoffman's replies and cheering Oliver on as he continued to question the star.

"It's not reflective of who I am"-it's that kind of response to this stuff that pisses me off. It's not reflective of who I am". 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?"'

The hour-long session ended shortly after, as the two were unable to move past the issue. Oliver lamented this additional questioning of victims' motives, putting his head in his hands and saying, "Oh, Dustin". After a leaden beat, Hoffman replied, "Do you believe the stuff that you read?"

The discussion turned testy when moderator Oliver brought up ongoing conversations about sexual harassment in the film industry.

The actor also discussed a story that recently resurfaced regarding a screen test for The Graduate, in which he allegedly touched co-star Katharine Ross, describing reports of the incident as "skewed".

"It's not for me to say".

Hoffman, though, doesn't agree and replied saying "It's hard to ask that question, you weren't there", to which Oliver counter-replied "I'm glad". "Because there's no point in her lying".

"I'm glad", Oliver responded.

"I think it's the things that we do in between takes where there's probably a cultural shift that needs to happen", he said to applause from the audience. "No one stands up to powerful men".

  • Marlene Weaver