A Tribeca Film screening quickly turned tense when comedian John Oliver grilled Dustin Hoffman over sexual assault allegations against the actor. But who exactly is John Oliver, and why did he decide to call Hoffman out?
Last month, a woman named Anna Graham Hunter came forward with claims that Hoffman had groped her when she was a 17-year-old intern on the set of 1985’s Death of a Salesman. Hoffman has denied responsibility, claiming that he never met Graham Hunter.
Halfway through the panel, Oliver addressed Hoffman’s response, saying that it was insufficient.
Oliver was born in England and began his career as a stand-up comedian. He later moved to the U.S. and became a correspondent on The Daily Show in 2006. He worked on the show for seven years before leaving in 2013 to begin his own HBO series Last Week Tonight, which, like The Daily Show, reports news with a comedic spin, covering topics from net neutrality to the Miss America pageant.
Despite his insistence that he is a comedian rather than a journalist, Oliver’s show has been lauded for its high-quality reporting, and Oliver was even honored with a Peabody award for Last Week Tonight in 2014 after the show’s first season. The show also won the Emmy Awards for Outstanding Variety Talk Series in 2016 and 2017.
Last Week Tonight has also been applauded for effecting real-world change. The Atlantic described the show as “transcending apathy” after viewers of the show caused the FCC website to crash due to a flood of comments.
Oliver is quickly becoming an influential figure for his ability to capture America’s attention. We applaud Oliver for using his platform as a comedian to call out sexual assault and hope others will be inspired to do the same.