John Oliver challenges Dustin Hoffman on his response to sexual harassment allegations

Dustin Hoffman got into a heated debate Monday night with TV host John Oliver.

ByMichael Rothman
December 05, 2017, 3:08 PM

— -- Famed actor Dustin Hoffman and TV host John Oliver got into a heated debate Monday night in New York while discussing allegations of harassment against Hoffman.

In particular, Oliver questioned the actor repeatedly about Anna Graham Hunter's accusations last month that Hoffman was personally intrusive, including allegedly touching her inappropriately, more than three decades ago on the set of TV film "Death of a Salesman." Hunter was 17 at the time.

After Hunter's allegations emerged on Nov. 1, Hoffman issued an apology. "I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation," his statement read. "I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am."

On Monday night, Hoffman doubled down on his conditional statement, this time focusing on the word "if" and "might," taking the stance he doesn't believe he really did anything to warrant such condemning media coverage and that he didn't even remember meeting Hunter or that he groped her in any way.

But Oliver challenged Hoffman's response, saying it "pisses me off" and telling Hoffman, "It is reflective of who you were ... it feels like a cop-out to say, 'This isn't me,'" according to The Washington Post, which also posted video of the panel the two were on for the 20th anniversary of one of Hoffman's films, "Wag the Dog."

"You weren't there," Hoffman responded to Oliver, telling the host he was being "pretty quick to judgment."

The 80-year-old actor went on to say "I said a stupid thing" but explained that the cast and crew were like a family and that things like "sex" were discussed to break up the monotony of work. Hoffman said he apologized "if" he had done anything to make anyone, including Hunter, feel uncomfortable at the time.

"I gotta say, I don't love that response either," Oliver replied.

"What response do you want?" Hoffman asked.

PHOTO: Dustin Hoffman attends the 20th Anniversary screening of "Wag The Dog" at 92nd Street Y, Dec. 4, 2017, in New York City.
Dustin Hoffman attends the 20th Anniversary screening of "Wag The Dog" at 92nd Street Y, Dec. 4, 2017, in New York City.
Mireya Acierto/Getty Images/Getty Images

The “Last Week Tonight” host said he got "no pleasure" from having this conversation with Hoffman but added that he does believe what Hunter wrote and that the actor's response to him did not feel self-reflective.

As things began to get more heated between the two on stage, Oliver and others on the panel tried to move the conversation to the anniversary of the film, but Hoffman was still clearly upset that the media, Oliver in particular, had already considered him "an abuser," though he said he never admitted anything.

"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. "It's so skewed."

As added by the Post's coverage of the panel, Hoffman also referenced his film “Tootsie” as a sign of his growth and respect for women.

"I would not have made that movie if I didn’t have an incredible respect for women,” he said.

Oliver added that something that the actor brought up about "the things that we do in between takes" caught his ear.

"I think it's the things that we do in between takes where there's probably a cultural shift that needs to happen," he said to applause from the audience.

Requests for further comment from Hoffman's and Oliver's reps were not immediately returned to ABC News.

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