TV host and comedian John Oliver stood against sexual harassment and did the right thing by calling out Dustin Hoffman for allegations against him, holds Caroline Framke of Vox. Hoffman allegedly groped and made inappropriate sexual comments towards a fellow actress. Oliver, using his status as a famous man and the publicity of the event they were attending, was a display of much-needed solidarity with women. It can offer all women solace to know that even well-off men like Oliver are concerned enough to rock the boat and ask other stars deeply uncomfortable questions. Past abuses have slipped under the radar because no one spoke out. Not this time.
For all his good intentions, we shouldn’t exaggerate Oliver’s ‘courage’ for having confronted Hoffman over sexual harassment allegations, asserts Sady Doyle of Elle. He is far from a feminist hero. In the past, his show was made up of mostly white and male writers. When facing feminist criticism over this he reacted extremely dismissively in 2010. There is a chance that Oliver was motivated by the good publicity that criticizing Hoffman would generate, rather than doing so out of the pure goodness of his heart. It seems unlikely that the John Oliver of 2010 would have acted this way. While good, what he did should be seen as the norm, not an act of selfless heroism.