John Oliver admitted that his confrontation with Dustin Hoffman earlier this month over accusations of sexual misconduct by the Oscar winner could have been handled differently.
In an interview last Friday on Sky One’s “The Russell Howard Hour,” Oliver said that he “tried and failed” to start a dialogue with Hoffman during a live panel celebrating the 20th anniversary of Hoffma’s film “Wag the Dog.”
“It felt unavoidable and that we had to have a discussion about it,” Oliver told Howard. “It wasn’t ideal but it became such a big story — but it became about my questions rather than his answers. The questions weren’t particularly remarkable, but his answers were … not great. That was the point of it. But it didn’t really go anywhere constructive, so the whole thing just made me feel sad.”
Oliver warned event organizers that if Hoffman attended the event he would bring up the multiple accusations that have been leveled against him by women, including some who were teenagers at the time. Hoffman has repeatedly denied that he has engaged in misconduct.
“I said, ‘If he is going to be there, I have to ask him about this,” Oliver said. “I understand you might not want your event to be about this, so you might want to get someone else,’ and they said ‘No, no, we want you to do it.’ Then when he [Hoffman] confirmed, I said, ‘I am going to ask him.’ So it was a collision course was set at that point.”
Oliver’s questioning of Hoffman in a public forum was met with mixed reactions, with some praising him, while others like Michael Rapaport and Alec Baldwin slamming the HBO host.
Hoffman was first accused in a guest column by Anna Graham Hunter for The Hollywood Reporter last month.
In her piece, Hunter accused Hoffman of attempting to grope her multiple times when she was just 17. In the weeks following the confrontation, Hoffman was accused by eight more women of sexual misconduct.