John Oliver may not have thought his confrontation with Dustin Hoffman at the 20th anniversary Wag the Dog screening was a success, but the exchange certainly resonated with seven of the actors' accusers.
Hoffman has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Anna Graham Hunter, Wendy Riss Gatsiounis, Kathryn Rossetter, Melissa Kester, Cori Thomas, and two women who wished to remain unnamed cosigned a letter to the Last Week Tonight host thanking him for his commitment to holding alleged sexual predators accountable for their actions.
"Many men listen to and believe women when we recount our experiences of sexual harassment and assault," the letter, which Graham Hunter tweeted out on Wednesday, read. "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."
During the panel, Oliver steered away from asking many questions about Hoffman's film and instead pressed the actor to discuss a statement he made to The Hollywood Reporter in which he said Graham Hunter's allegations were "not reflective of who I am."
"'It's not reflective of who I am' — it's that kind of response to this stuff that pisses me off," Oliver said. "Because it is reflective of who you were. If it happened, and you've given no evidence to show that it didn't happen, then there was a period in time, for a while, when you were a creeper around women. So it feels like a cop-out to say, 'Well, this isn't me.' Do you understand how that feels like a dismissal?"
Though many men have shared their support for survivors, Oliver was one of the first to really dig in his heels and ask the tougher questions in a public forum. As the seven courageous women stated in their letter, ending rape culture isn't something women can do alone. It's on all of us to call out inappropriate and toxic behaviour in order to make our environments safer for everyone.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please visit Rape Crisis or call 0808 802 9999.
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