Oliver, Hoffman's war of words over sexual harassment claims

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The Q&A then got tense as Oliver asked Hoffman about sexual harassment allegations against him, calling the actor a "creeper".

"This is something we're going to have to talk about because ... it's hanging in the air", he said Oliver said.

"It's hanging in the air?"

Anna Graham Hunter accused Hoffman of groping her when she was 17 on the set of Hoffman's Death of A Salesman.

In his original response to Hunter, Hoffman had written: "I have the utmost respect for women and feel bad that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation".

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In response to this, Hoffman said "You weren't there", prompting Oliver to say "I'm glad".

Both Deadline and Variety have reported the discussion carried on for the best part of half an hour, with a live audience both cheering and booing at times. "Does that feel like enough to you?"

Not much has come of the sexual misconduct allegations against Dustin Hoffman to this point.

"It's that kind of response to this stuff that pisses me off", he said.

Oliver sat down with Hoffman, Robert De Niro, producer Jane Rosenthal and director Barry Levinson in NY to celebrate Wag the Dog's 20 anniversary, and while much of the talk centred around the movie, Oliver eventually moved on to the topic of sexual misconduct in Hollywood, warning that it was "likely to be the tensest part of the evening".

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According to The Washington Post, the other members on the panel - producer Jane Rosenthal and director Barry Levinson - are said to have tried to jump in to defuse the situation. "It is reflective of who you were". "You weren't there", he says to Oliver.

The back-and-forth mainly centered on the Graham Hunter allegations, and also at times invoked an accusation by "The Graduate" co-star Katharine Ross that Hoffman had groped her on the set of the classic film. Hoffman then laid out his version of events, where he claimed he touched her momentarily, and innocently.

"At 49, I understand what Dustin Hoffman did as it fits into the larger pattern of what women experience in Hollywood and everywhere", she wrote in the column. "That's 'not innocent until proven guilty'".

Hoffman asked that Oliver "keep an open mind" about the claims made against hime. The exchange, however, marked a rarity in the post-Harvey Weinstein era, which has seen accused harassers generally offer short statements, if they replied at all, about the allegations made against them; very few have engaged in long public conversations about it, and nearly none have sounded as defiant as Hoffman did Monday night. "I'm happy I wasn't", Oliver replied.

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