A panel conversation exploded on Monday night when HBO late night host John Oliver ripped into Dustin Hoffman about allegations of sexual misconduct and the actor's denials, prompting a vehement reaction from Hoffman.
"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.
For half an hour, the two danced around all the hallmarks of every bad response to sexual harassment allegations: Hoffman insisting it didn't happen, Hoffman arguing the internet has decided he's guilty before proven innocent, Hoffman arguing that he experienced misogyny while in costume for Tootsie so obviously he has respect for women.
After Hunter's account was published on November 1, Hoffman issued an apology, insisting, "I have the utmost respect for women and feel bad that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation".
Hoffman claimed he did not remember Graham Hunter, that he did not grope anyone, and that his agent and PR people had told him it was best to avoid getting into a lengthy dispute by simply apologizing.
Hoffman is among a number of rich and famous men who have been accused of sexual misconduct since October, when Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual assault.
"I believe what she wrote, yes", Oliver replied.
Oliver insisted the explanation was total BS, saying, "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 a creeper around women. "It feels like a cop-out to say 'it wasn't me.' Do you understand how that feels like a dismissal?" More than anything, Oliver was giving Hoffman an opportunity to address that, and to prove that he's learned.
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"Do you believe this stuff that you read?"
Oliver said Hoffman's responses fell short of community expectations.
Oliver also took issue with the statement Hoffman released shortly after Hunter shared her story via The Hollywood Reporter on November 1: "I have the utmost respect for women and feel bad that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation".
At one point Dustin even said "You weren't there" to which John replied, "I'm glad".
"First of all, it didn't happen the way she reported", Hoffman replied, later adding that his comments had been misconstrued "at the click of a button".
"Well, there's a point in her not bringing this up for 40 years", Hoffman responded.
"No one stands up to powerful men", Oliver said. "That leads to me at home later tonight hating myself, asking, 'Why the f**k didn't I say something?"
"I can't leave certain things unaddressed", Oliver later said.