With the Sundance Film Festival little more than a month away, it’s twin, the Tribeca film fest, may offer some advance notice on where discussion and Q&As may go in Park City.
At a panel discussion after the 20th anniversary screening of Wag the Dog at Monday, Last Week Tonight’s John Oliver took on sexual harassment by powerful men in entertainment. Olive confronted legendary actor and panelist Dustin Hoffman about decades-old accusations of Hoffman’s sexual misconduct—allegedly Hoffman groped and made inappropriate comments to an intern on the set of the 1985 TV broadcast of Death of a Salesman.
Here’s what transpired:
Oliver to Hoffman: ”This is something we’re going to have to talk about because … it’s hanging in the air,”
Hoffman. “It’s hanging in the air? From a few things you’ve read you’ve made an incredible assumption about me.” (Hoffman’s only response to the allegations was: “It’s not reflective of who I am.”)
Oliver: “It’s that kind of response to this stuff that pisses me off. It is reflective of who you were. If you’ve given no evidence to show it didn’t happen, there was a period of time for a while when you were a creeper around women. It feels like a cop-out to say ‘it wasn’t me.'”
Oliver (later): ”The easy way is not to bring anything up. Unfortunately, that leaves me at home later at night hating myself. Why the f–k didn’t I say something? No one stands up to powerful men.”
Hoffman: “Am I the powerful man?”
Besides Sundance, here’s the Utah connection: After one male entertainment celebrity after another have made headlines for sexual harassment (Harvey Weinstein, directors James Toback and Brett Ratner, to name a few) Salt Lake Film Center Director Geralyn Dreyfous told Salt Lake magazine she was already producing a new documentary with director Kirby Dick and producer Amy Ziering of The Hunting Ground (2016) about harassment and retaliation against college rape victims.
Dreyfous says the documentary will be based on the allegations swirling around the entertainment culture for years. “These were the same actors who were quoted in the The New York Times story” Dreyfous says. “They came to us after The Hunting Ground, and said, ‘you need to do a film on what’s happening in the industry.’ ”
Dreyfous says the yet-untitled film will expose infamous predatory behavior in the entertainment industry. “It’s similar to bullying. We really need to look at predatory behavior in our culture. In Hollywood, it’s especially prevalent because there is so much concentrated power. Harvey was picking a lot of winners. He was determining the fate of so many actors.”
See all of our Sundance coverage here.