John Oliver grilled Dustin Hoffman about his sexual abuse allegations during a special screening of the film Wag the Dog. What started as a social media movement has changed Hollywood forever. Women who had experienced sexual harassment, assault, and misconduct posted the hashtag #MeToo, sometimes with their personal stories and sometimes just those words. The idea was to show just how common sexual mistreatment happens and how it affects most – if not all – women. Many men and nonbinary people also shared their own experiences, and the people in the movie and TV business who had suffered in silence for generations for fear of ruined careers and reprisals began to speak out.
The fallout has been massive and immediate as some of the most powerful men in Hollywood have lost jobs and credibility. They have been fired from their own companies, from projects they created and ran from behind the scenes, or that they starred in and played the protagonists of. Series like House of Cards and Transparent are trying to figure out how to move forward without their central characters. Movies are recasting roles – sometimes within just weeks of release dates. Huge projects are looking for new showrunners and producers.
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One person who has been accused is actor Dustin Hoffman. Anna Graham Hunter – who at 17 was an intern on the 1985 TV movie Death of a Salesman starring Hoffman – says that the actor groped her. So did his co-star in The Graduate, Katharine Ross. Writer Wendy Riss Gatsiounis also made an allegation that during a pitch meeting in 1991, Hoffman made an improper proposition. During a recent 20th anniversary screening of Wag the Dog, John Oliver of Last Week Tonight moderated a talkback with Hoffman, his co-star Robert De Niro, producer Jane Rosenthal and director Barry Levinson. According to The Washington Post, during the talkback Oliver brought up Graham Hunter’s allegations, and proceeded to grill the actor on his behavior for the rest of the conversation.
One of the things that Oliver brought up was Hoffman’s apology, which Oliver as well as many others feel was dismissive and lacking of actual remorse. Hoffman claimed that he was sorry “if” he did anything wrong, but denied any wrong doings repeatedly. He says that he never groped anyone and has no memory of meeting Graham Hunter at all, and even claimed that his behavior on set was a normal part of the business – the way the “family” talks to each other. Hoffman also said that the sort of behavior being discussed was not reflective of who he is.
When Oliver tried to point out that his apology was not really good enough and that it was clearly a reflection of who Hoffman was at the time, Hoffman became defensive and claimed he was being blindsided. The actor as well as producer Rosenthal tried several times to turn the conversation back to Wag the Dog but Oliver kept coming back to the subject at hand. Ironically, Wag the Dog features Hoffman as a film producer who helps create a fake news story about a non-existent war to help protect the President when he is accused inappropriate behavior with a little girl.
Hoffman argued that his role in the movie Tootsie reflected his real views on women, that he learned how he often misjudged them by their appearance and could have been more respectful towards them – just as his character in the movie does. But he still offered no better apology, accused Oliver of not having an open mind because he clearly believed Graham Hunter, and even tried to shame her for not saying anything for decades.
While an occasional member of the film’s audience may have wanted Oliver to ease up, a vast majority supported him with cheers when he made a good point, and cries of encouragement. Oliver said he thought about not saying anything, but felt as though it would make him a part of the problem if he stayed silent.
Source: The Washington Post
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