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Dustin Hoffman, Alleged Sexual Harasser, Cites Crossdressing in Tootsie as Proof He Respects Women

Dustin Hoffman, Alleged Sexual Harasser, Cites Crossdressing in Tootsie as Proof He Respects Women

Dustin Hoffman
AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

“I would not have made that movie if I didn’t have an incredible respect for women."

It's easy to lose track of how many men are trash lately. In the post-Weinstein world, it seems as if every week brings another wave of sexual assault allegations against someone, which is why many people have forgotten about the claims against actor Dustin Hoffman.

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Luckily for us all, a heroic John Oliver wasn't ready to let that get swept under the rug. The HBO host dug into Dustin Hoffman at a seemingly-benign 20th anniversary screening and discussion of the film Wag the Dog on Monday night. It was last month that Hoffman was accused by Anna Graham Hunter of groping her and making inappropriate comments when she was a 17-year-old intern on the set of the 1985 TV movie Death of a Salesman. When those allegations surfaced, Hoffman dismissed them by claiming that he didn't even know who the woman was.

This dismissal came back in an explosive back-and-force that was the equivalent of watching Hoffman dig himself into a hole and bury himself in the dirt, which culminated in Hoffman making the insane claim that his role in Tootsie, as a man who dresses as a woman, was somehow proof that he respected women to much to allegedly grope them. "I would not have made that movie if I didn't have an incredible respect for women," Hoffman explained. "The theme of the movie is he became a better man by having been a woman."

He wasn't done. He then went on to explain his sudden awakening when he dressed as a woman for the first time and was ignored by men on set. "I said when I came home to my wife that I never realized men were that brutal, that men are that obvious," Hoffman recounted. "They didn't find me attractive and they just erased me." A man not realizing women are mistreated until he literally steps into their shoes? Groundbreaking.

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He added, "What makes me sad is that I grew up in an environment in which we were taught to want the girls on the covers of magazines, the models, and I said to my wife, 'Look at how many interesting women I passed up...look at how many women were erased by me because of the generation I was born.' That was a very strong reason for me wanting to make that movie."

When Hoffman wasn't busy claiming Tootsie as his feminist get-out-of-jail-free card, he was also questioning the point of Hunter not "bringing [the allegations] up for 40 years" and then telling Oliver to "keep a kind of open mind" about the claims of sexual harassment.

Watch the full video of the heated exchange here.

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Chris Thomas