Seven women who have accused Dustin Hoffman of sexual misconduct published a joint letter Wednesday thanking John Oliver for confronting the actor about some of their allegations during a contentious panel discussion earlier this month.
“We want to thank you for confronting Dustin Hoffman,” the women said in the letter, which was first tweeted by actress Anna Graham Hunter. “While the questions you asked may not have led to the constructive conversation you hoped for, the fact that you asked them at all is what matters most. Many men listen to and believe women when we recount our experiences of sexual harassment and assault. But few men put themselves at risk — socially or professionally — to have uncomfortable conversations with other men. Women can continue to tell our stories, but ultimately, change will depend on men reflecting on their own behavior and challenging other men to do the same.”
Signed by Hunter, Wendy Riss Gatsiounis, Kathryn Rossetter, Melissa Kester, Cori Thomas, and two women who have chosen to remain anonymous, the letter was posted a few days after Oliver said in an interview on Sky One’s The Russell Howard Hour that he “tried and failed” in his conversation with Hoffman.
“It wasn’t ideal but it became such a big story — but it became about my questions rather than his answers,” Oliver said. “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 confronted the Oscar-winning actor about allegations of misconduct “hanging in the air” during a 20th-anniversary screening of Wag the Dog, which the Last Week Tonight host moderated. The conversation quickly became heated as Hoffman denied and disputed the allegations and Oliver continued to press him.
In recent weeks, Hoffman, 80, has been accused of a range of impropriety, including groping, inappropriate language, unwanted sexual advances, sexual assault, and exposing himself to a minor. In response to Hunter’s allegations of harassment, Hoffman said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, “I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation. I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am.” Through his attorney, Hoffman told Variety the allegations of sexual assault and exposing himself to a minor were “defamatory falsehoods.”