John Oliver hosted a panel discussion about the 20th anniversary of the Dustin Hoffman film Wag the Dog when Oliver brought up the recent sexual harassment allegations against the actor.


“This is something we’re going to have to talk about because… it’s hanging in the air,” Oliver stated. Hoffman did not appreciate the segue. “It’s hanging in the air?” Hoffman replied. “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.'”

Anna Graham Hunter came forward last month about Hoffman harassing and groping her when she was a 17-year-old intern on the set of the 1986 TV movie Death of a Salesman. She published an essay about their interactions, and included specific instances and quotations that she had kept in a journal at the time. Hoffman offered a conditional apology when published her claim, adding an “if” to his statement, and saying he didn’t believe he had done anything wrong. He denied the groping and said he didn’t even recall meeting Hunter.

Hoffman also said that his behavior on set was “not reflective of” who he is. Oliver showed his distaste at that response. “It’s that kind of statement that pisses me off,” said the Last Week Tonight host. “It’s ‘not reflective of who I am.’ But it is reflective of who you were.”

Hoffman accused Oliver of “putting me on display” at the panel, and that he felt blindsided because neither Oliver nor the Tribeca Film Festival organizers had warned him that this subject would come up. Several times, however, Hoffman returned to the subject on his own accord.

“Do you believe this stuff you read?” Hoffman asked.

“Yes, because there’s no point in [an accuser] lying,” Oliver responded.

“Well, there’s a point in her not bringing it up for 40 years,” Hoffman said.

“Oh Dustin,” Oliver said, putting his head in his hands. Later, he brought this point up again. “I can’t leave certain things unaddressed,” the host said. “The easy way is not to bring anything up. Unfortunately that leaves me at home later at night hating myself. ‘Why the —- didn’t I say something? No one stands up to powerful men.'”

Tensions did not cool for the entire evening, with Hoffman trying to clear his name and Oliver pushing for the truth.

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