Dustin Hoffman had a heated exchange with talk show host John Oliver on Monday about the sexual harassment allegations recently made about him.
Writer Anna Graham Hunter claimed in November that she was harassed by The Graduate actor while working on TV movie Death of a Salesman in 1985 at the age of 17, and he quickly issued an apology, insisting he has the "utmost respect" for women and adding the alleged behavior "is not reflective of who I am."
Hoffman sat down for a panel discussion in New York 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.
"You've made one statement in print… Does that feel like enough to you?" Oliver asked Hoffman, according to Deadline.com. The actor replied, "First of all, it didn't happen, the way she reported."
"It's that part of the response to this stuff that p**ses me off," Oliver said. "It is reflective of who you were. You've given no evidence to show that it didn't happen. 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?"'
Hoffman hit back with, "You weren't there" and Oliver responded, "I'm glad," which reportedly drew gasps from the audience.
The 80-year-old told Oliver, "You've put me on display here… You have indicted me… That's not innocent until proven guilty," before going on to explain the atmosphere on the set of the movie, saying there was sexually charged banter but it wasn't meant in an offensive way.
"I don't love that answer either," Oliver said, to which Hoffman replied, "What response do you want?" and Oliver, explained, "It doesn't feel self-reflective in the way it seems the incident demands."
The other panellists largely kept quiet during the discussion, but Rosenthal later injected to get the talk back onto the film.
However, Hoffman subsequently returned to the topic when they were talking about how social media has distorted politics and news.
"Well, it's affected you in terms of your feelings about me," he told Oliver. "The so-called, alleged comments that are made are truth now… And if you try to defend it, you're guilty."