“It felt unavoidable and that we had to have a discussion about it,” Oliver said Friday on the British comedy news show. “It wasn’t ideal that it became such a big story because then it became about my questions rather than his answers. The questions weren’t particularly remarkable, but his answers were kind of not great.”
Oliver said he hoped their conversation would have been more constructive. “I tried and failed,” he said, adding, “The whole thing just made me feel sad.”
Earlier in December, Oliver hosted a Tribeca Film Institute panel for the 20th anniversary of “Wag the Dog,” which stars Hoffman. During the chat, Oliver brought up the recent sexual harassment allegations against the actor and said he felt Hoffman’s partial apologies had been insufficient.
“It’s shocking to me you don’t see me more clearly, that you go by a couple of things you read,” Hoffman replied during the panel.
The two continued to have a heated exchange for several minutes, with Hoffman denying he knew one of the women who had accused him and attacking Oliver for asking about the accusations.
“I can’t leave certain things unaddressed,” Oliver told Hoffman. “The easy way is not to bring anything up. Unfortunately, that leaves me at home later at night hating myself. Why the … didn’t I say something? No one stands up to powerful men.”
On “The Russell Howard Hour,” Oliver revealed that he had told the event’s moderators in advance that he was going to ask the actor about the allegations, and they should select someone else to moderate, if that was going to be a problem.
In the last two months, Hoffman has faced claims of sexual harassment and assault from several women he has worked with throughout his career, along with a minor who alleges he exposed himself to her in a hotel room. Anna Graham Hunter, a production assistant on his 1985 TV film “Death of a Salesman,” was the first to come forward, alleging he had harassed her on set when she was 17 years old.