I’m probably going to take some heat for this from the Handmaids, but so be it.
John Oliver is an insufferable busybody and will make a perfect prefect of the Nanny State should it ever be instituted.
What’s most disturbing is that “real journalists” are celebrating him as some kind of dual genius, able to move seamlessly between brilliance as a comedian — and actor, which I think is an important part of his persona just as it was for Jon Stewart; convincingly feigning outrage is an important part of the job — and hard news journalist asking tough questions.
And why? Because he embarrassed legendary actor Dustin Hoffman Monday night in front of a room full of a thousand people by grilling him about an as-yet unsubstantiated sexual harassment allegation that supposedly took place 40 years ago on the set of “The Graduate”.
The gushing is impressive:
The actual conversation is not so much. And not because I think Hoffman is in the clear. I just don’t know. Neither does Oliver. But he “doesn’t love” certain answers Hoffman gives, because apparently the only way to clear your name is to give John Oliver the answer he has preordained the correct one. It’s infuriating to watch and is like something out of Kafka’s “The Trial”: nonsensical and recursive and annoying. Watch for yourself:
Perhaps the most egregious mistake Oliver makes is his reason for believing the young lady making the claim (whom he quotes as saying that, despite the incident, she still loves Hoffman). He believes her, he says, because she has no reason to lie.
I keep hearing this argument now that the dam has opened on just how creepy and inappropriate and downright criminal some of these guys in power have been throughout their careers. And while I think it’s a fine thing to give these ladies making harassment claims the benefit of the doubt as we search for proof of their allegations, it’s also incredibly important to remember something:
People do lie. All the time. Sexual harassers and abusers do it. So do the people who claim victimhood. It happens. Just ask the Lacrosse Team at Duke, or the boy accused by Lena Dunham when she was in college, or all the people horrified by the Tawana Brawley case in the 80s.
Sometime people even lie for mystery reasons that no one understands. So, respectfully, John, your analysis that the woman is truthful because you, in your infinite, magical wisdom, see no motive for her to lie, isn’t really all that compelling.
But what does that matter when there’s a chance to up your profile by publicly humiliating a screen legend over allegations that may or may not be true? Never let a good crisis go to waste, as Rahm Emanuel so famously said.