It all happened at 20th-anniversary panel and screening of the political film Wag the Dog, where Hoffman was asked about recent sexual harassment allegations, which was made against him by Anna Graham Hunter.According to her, the incident happened when she was a 17-year-old production assistant on the 1985 TV film Death of a Salesman.
Hoffman sat down for a panel discussion in NY ahead of the 20th anniversary screening of his movie Wag the Dog alongside co-star Robert De Niro, producer Jane Rosenthal and director Barry Levinson on Monday, and host Oliver made sure to bring up the allegation.
The debate was recorded and posted online Tuesday. In a six-minute (edited) video taken by a journalist who was attending the panel discussion, Hoffman is seen asking Oliver if he actually believed "the stuff you're reading" and questioning why Graham Hunter hadn't come forward with her story in over three decades - something that earned him an "Oh, Dustin" and an exasperated sigh from Oliver. Hoffman responded to the accusation and said, "I have the utmost respect for women and feel awful that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation".
"I still don't know who this woman is", Hoffman said.
Hoffman accused Oliver of "putting me on display" and said he felt blindsided because neither Oliver nor Tribeca organizers had told him that the moderator would raise the subject.
"Well, there's a point in her not bringing it up for 40 years", Hoffman said. He added that he did not think he had done anything wrong and that his comments about the set back then were typical of conversations between members of the same "family". "If it happened and you've given no evidence to show that it didn't [happen] then there was a period of time for a while when you were a creeper around women.", Oliver stated. Will victims now have many famous people confronting accusers on their behalf in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, which exposed the extent of sexual harassment in Hollywood?
According to a report in The Washington Post, Oliver said that he was going to discuss the changing climate in the entertainment industry, where many powerful figures have faced precipitous consequences as accounts of their sexual misdeeds have been brought to light. "So it feels like a cop-out to say, 'Well, this isn't me.' Do you understand how that feels like a dismissal?" It is reflective of who you were.
"Do you believe this stuff you read?" "And that is "if" I did anything that was out of sorts, or if I embarrassed her, I apologize".
You want to expect more from a woman, but then, this is a woman who has managed to make an extremely successful career for herself in Hollywood despite the boys club of it all. "Because there's no point in [an accuser] lying".
The discussion was largely calm and cordial, though one person in the audience yelled at Oliver to "Move on".
The actor asked why the questioner wouldn't hear his side.
"Well I'm trying harder than you are", Hoffman shot back.
"I'm glad [I wasn't]", the host replied.