John Oliver made a noble effort to question accused sexual harasser Dustin Hoffman about the allegations against him in a public forum earlier this month. According to a recent interview, though, Oliver wasn’t as impressed with himself as everyone else seemed to be.


Oliver was interviewed on Sky One’s The Russell Howard Hour last week, and was asked by host Russell Howard about the incident. Oliver had been asked to moderate a special 20th anniversary screening of Wag the Dog at the 92nd street Y. At about minute 9:45 in the clip above, Oliver tells Howard that he’d told organizers that if Hoffman made an appearance, he would feel obligated to bring up the accusations against the famed actor.

According to Oliver, the organizers understood his intentions to wag the dog, so to speak, and went ahead with the event as scheduled anyway. Afterwards, he was apparently bummed by the attention the whole ordeal got: “It wasn’t ideal, but it became such a big story—but it became about my questions rather than his answers,” Oliver says. “The questions were not particularly remarkable, but his answers were kind of not great. That was the point of it. But it didn’t really go anywhere constructive, so the whole thing just made me feel sad.”


Howard pushes to say that it was better that he tried, which Oliver agrees with, though he says he wanted it to be more constructive.

“I did try,” he adds. “I tried and I failed.”

Guess it was an even more unpleasant exchange for Oliver than originally pictured.

Contributing Writer, writing my first book for the Dial Press called The Lonely Hunter, follow me on Twitter @alutkin

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