Earlier this month, during a 20th-anniversary screening of the film Wag the Dog, Last Week Tonight host John Oliver confronted Dustin Hoffman about the growing number of sexual-misconduct allegations against him. And while Oliver has expressed his disappointment over the exchange, saying in an interview that he “tried and failed” to engage in a meaningful conversation with the actor, seven of Hoffman’s accusers have come forward to thank Oliver for his efforts.
In a letter posted to Twitter on Wednesday, Anna Graham Hunter, Wendy Riss Gatsiounis, Kathryn Rossetter, Melissa Kester, Cori Thomas, and two women who wished to remain anonymous thanked Oliver for confronting Hoffman, writing:
While the questions you asked may not have led to the constructive conversation you hoped for, the fact that you asked them 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.
Two of the accusers say they were underage when Hoffman harassed them. Hunter, who worked with Hoffman when she was a 17-year-old production assistant on the set of the 1985 film Death of a Salesman, has accused the actor of groping her and asking about her sex life. Thomas says she was 16 when Hoffman exposed himself to her in a hotel room.
“It felt unavoidable and that we had to have a discussion about it,” Oliver said on The Russell Howard Hour. “It wasn’t ideal, but it became such a big story. But it became about my questions rather than his answers. 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.”