Over the last two months, several women have come forward accusing Dustin Hoffman of sexual assault. Some have detailed recollections, others are co-signing their fellow accuser’s stories while wishing to remain anonymous, and Hoffman has spent much of his time avoiding the issue. But, at a recent anniversary showing of Wag The Dog, John Oliver bluntly brought up the accusations to the testy, 80-year-old Academy Award winner.
Video of Oliver’s confrontation, which featured audible mixed reactions from the audience at the panel, went relatively viral. Ultimately, Oliver didn’t consider his questions to be worthy of the accusations and said as much on UK talk show The Russell Howard Hour where he explained his feelings after the fact. “It didn’t really go anywhere constructive, so the whole thing made me feel sad.”
Hoffman’s accusers felt quite the opposite. One of the women, Anna Graham Hunter, wrote a letter signed by Hoffman’s accusers and released it on Twitter letting Oliver know that the fact he even brought up the subject, rather than going on and lobbing softball questions about Wag The Dog, was a step in the right direction in their eyes. “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,” Hunter wrote.
It’s a reminder that men need to step outside their comfort zones if they’re going to be better allies to women and those who have been through sexual assault.