Dustin Hoffman’s accusers thank John Oliver for grilling Dustin HoffmanOn December 27, 2017 by Kenna
Dustin Hoffman has made it very clear that he did not appreciate John Oliver’s line of questioning about the the sexual misconduct allegations against him.
Not surprisingly, however, Hoffman’s victims feel otherwise.
Seven of Hoffman’s accusers – Anna Graham Hunter, Wendy Riss Gatsiounis, Kathryn Rossetter, Melissa Kester, Cori Thomas, and two others who have remained anonymous – have penned a letter thanking Oliver for confronting Hoffman.
Hunter was the first of these women to come forward, writing in November that Hoffman had sexually harassed her on the set of Death of a Salesman. Accounts by Gatsiounis, Rossetter, Kester, Thomas, and others followed over the next several weeks.
In early December, Oliver questioned Hoffman about the allegations during a 20th anniversary screening of Wag the Dog. Over several uncomfortable minutes, Oliver criticized Hoffman’s apology, calling it a “dismissal,” while Hoffman denied the allegations and argued that Oliver should keep an “open mind.”
Although the incident made headlines, Oliver recently admitted that he was “sad” about the entire exchange. “I just wanted it to become something more constructive. But it was clear pretty early on that it was not going to happen,” he said. “I did try. I tried and failed.”
As Hoffman’s accusers write, though, just trying to have a constructive conversation is more than so many self-proclaimed male allies have proven willing to do.
Matt Damon, for instance, has admitted that he knew about Gwyneth Paltrow’s Harvey Weinstein story – but has recently chosen to use his platform to fret about the “culture of outrage” and wonder why we don’t talk more about all the guys who “don’t do this kind of thing.”
Piously claiming to “believe women” only gets us so far, when the men who need to hear it most are allowed to glide by without having to seriously address their own bad behaviors.
So, yeah, maybe Oliver’s attempts to engage in a productive dialogue with a serial sexual abuser weren’t as fruitful as he’d hoped. But more folks – particularly men – would do well to follow Oliver’s example, and start having these conversations in the first place.