The event, marking the 20th-anniversary screening of the film Wag The Dog, took a turn when Oliver alluded to a sexual harassment accusation leveled at Hoffman, given the current climate following the expose of Harvey Weinstein's behavior.
"This is something we’re going to have to talk about because…it’s hanging in the air," the HBO show host told Hoffman.
In a tense exchange – which Hoffman was unprepared for – the pair sparred over Hoffman's response to allegations made by Anna Graham Hunter that Hoffman groped her during the filming of the 1985 film, Death of A Salesman.
Hoffman, who returned to the topic unprompted according to a Washington Post reporter who was present, had apologized for his behaviour after the allegations first emerged, but on the panel questioned whether events as described by Hunter Graham took place.
"I still don’t know who this woman is," Hoffman said, according to a Washington Post report. "I never met her; if I met her, it was in concert with other people."
Hoffman said the allegations were not representative of him as a person, but Oliver responded: "It’s ‘not reflective of who I am.’ It’s that kind of response to this stuff that pisses me off."
The audience watching appeared divided, with many reportedly calling for Oliver to leave the line of questioning and return to discussing the film, while others in the audience seemingly standing up and applauding.
BuzzFeed News has contacted representatives for Hoffman and Oliver.
Rose Troup Buchanan is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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