Bill Murray defends Hoffman over harassment allegations

NEW YORK (AP) — Appearing on the same stage where months earlier Dustin Hoffman faced repeated questions about alleged sexual harassment, Bill Murray praised the actor as a "really decent person."

"Dustin Hoffman is a great man," Murray said Wednesday night at Manhattan's 92nd Street Y. "He's crazy, a 'Borscht Belt' flirt, has been his whole life. (But) he's a really sweet man."

Murray was interviewing his former agent, Michael Ovitz, whose memoir has just been published. Murray and Hoffman were Ovitz clients when they worked together in the 1982 film "Tootsie."

During an event last December at the Y, Hoffman was chastised by interviewer John Oliver over allegations he had groped an intern while making a TV movie of "Death of a Salesman" in the 1980s. Hoffman denied any wrongdoing and said Oliver was making "an incredible assumption" about him.

Ovitz himself has praised the #MeToo movement, while also speaking warmly of the ousted CBS chairman and CEO Les Moonves, a former client. In his memoir, "Who is Michael Ovitz?" the former head of the Creative Artists Agency writes that "a reckoning has come" and calls it "absolutely necessary and long overdue."

35 PHOTOS
Dustin Hoffman through the years
See Gallery
Dustin Hoffman through the years
American actor Dustin Hoffman with his wife Anne Byrne at the Red Cross Gala. Monte Carlo, 1960s (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
American actor Dustin Hoffman with two potted plants. (Photo by Terry O'Neill/Getty Images)
American actor Dustin Hoffman looking worried in the film Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? New York, 1971 (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) American actor Dustin Hoffman. 12/25/1966
LOS ANGELES - CIRCA 1966: Actor Dustin Hoffman in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
US actor Dustin Hoffman poses with his wife Anne Byrne, in his swimming pool Hotel, 14 May 1975, during the Cannes International Film Festival. In 1967 Dustin Hoffman became famous with his role in 'The Graduate' which brought his first Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe in 1968 . He received many awards, Golden Globes and among them two oscars as Best Actor for 'Kramer vs. Kramer' in 1980 and 'Rain Man' in 1989. (Photo credit should read /AFP/Getty Images)
US actor Dustin Hoffman poses in May 1975, during the Cannes International Film Festival. In 1967 Dustin Hoffman became famous with his role in 'The Graduate' which brought his first Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe in 1968 . He received many awards, Golden Globes and among them two oscars as Best Actor for 'Kramer vs. Kramer' in 1980 and 'Rain Man' in 1989. (Photo credit should read /AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 12,1968: Actor Dustin Hoffman poses with a Golden Globe award for Most Promising Newcomer - Male in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, UNITED STATES - MAY 07: Dustin Hoffman in Central Park on May 7, 1969 in New York City. (Photo by Tom Wargacki/WireImage)
LONDON - MARCH 08: Dustin Hoffman during an press conference for the film 'Straw Dogs' on March 8, 1970 in London. (Photo by Tom Wargacki/WireImage)
CALGARY - DECEMBER 23: LITTLE BIG MAN, theatrical movie originally released December 23, 1970. The film directed by Arthur Penn. Pictured, Dustin Hoffman (as Little Big Man), husband of Sunshine. Frame grab. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
CALGARY - DECEMBER 23: LITTLE BIG MAN, theatrical movie originally released December 23, 1970. The film directed by Arthur Penn. Pictured, Dustin Hoffman (as Jack Crabb, the Soda Pop Kid), during his gunfighter period. Frame grab. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
CALGARY - DECEMBER 23: LITTLE BIG MAN, theatrical movie originally released December 23, 1970. The film directed by Arthur Penn. Pictured, Dustin Hoffman (as Jack Crabb). Frame grab. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
Dustin Hoffman in a scene from the film 'Papillon', 1973. (Photo by Columbia Pictures/Getty Images)
Dustin Hoffman during 7th Annual RFK Pro-Celebrity Tennis Tournament at Forest Hills in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Dustin Hoffman during 'The Eyes of Laura Mars' New York City Premiere - After Party at Xenon in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Dustin Hoffman and daughter during 1983 Your Choice Film Awards at Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Jim Smeal/WireImage)
American actor Dustin Hoffman circa 1983. (Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)
Actor Dustin Hoffman in half-leght, wearing a shirt and a pair of braces. 1985. (Photo by Mario Notarangelo/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
Actor Dustin Hoffman (w. beard and mustache). (Photo by Time Life Pictures/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Dustin Hoffman (Photo by Tom Wargacki/WireImage)
Paris, France-04/04/95-American actor Dustin Hoffman. (Photo by Francis Apesteguy/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 648 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actor Dustin Hoffman during an interview with host Jay Leno on March 8, 1995 -- (Photo by: Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
American Actor Dustin Hoffman (Photo by RUSSEIL christophe/Sygma via Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - APRIL 17: Director Steven Spielberg, actor Tom Cruise, actress Jodie Foster and actor Dustin Hoffman attend the Fifth Annual John Huston Award for Artists Rights Salute to Tom Cruise on April 17, 1998 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
LONDON - JANUARY 25: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Actor Dustin Hoffman poses at the 'Meet The Fockers' Press Junket at The Dorchester Hotel on January 25, 2005 in London. The film is the sequel to 2000's hit comedy 'Meet The Parents' and stars Blythe Danner, Robert DeNiro, Barbra Streisand and Ben Stiller. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Dustin Hoffman and Ronald McDonald during 2003 World Childrens Day at McDonalds - Los Angeles at Los Angeles area McDonalds restaurant in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Mathew Imaging/FilmMagic)
Dustin Hoffman and Eva Mendes during 2005 MTV Movie Awards - Backstage and Audience at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. ***Exclusive*** (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 22: Actor Dustin Hoffman visits 'Late Show with David Letterman' at the Ed Sullivan Theater on December 22, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 4394 -- Pictured: Actor Dustin Hoffman arrives on January 24, 2013 -- (Photo by: Stacie McChesney/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Dustin Hoffman appears on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
Actor Dustin Hoffman attends the Premiere of Kung Fu Panda 3, in Hollywood, California, on January 16, 2015. / AFP / VALERIE MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 26: Dustin Hoffman attends the Cleveland Cavaliers vs New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden on March 26, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 11: Lisa Hoffman and Dustin Hoffman attend a screening of Netflix's on October 11, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/ WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 06: Dustin Hoffman (L) and Lisa Hoffman attend the Laugh Gala & UK Premiere of 'The Meyerowitz Stories' during the 61st BFI London Film Festival at Embankment Gardens Cinema on October 6, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

He recalls suspending an agent at CAA for harassing an assistant but also acknowledges that with his clients, some of whom he had heard were "treating younger women as sexual objects," his focus was "frankly on our business rather on social justice."

"I deeply regret that," he writes.

During a recent interview with CNBC, Ovitz said he felt "horrible" for Moonves, who resigned earlier this month after numerous women accused the long-time television executive of sexual misconduct.

Ovitz called Moonves "the most terrific guy" and said he was "always a class act."

"I had no idea of any of these issues," Ovitz told CNBC. "Still, I'm not sure I quite understand it all."

Read Full Story

Sign up for Entertainment Insider by AOL to get the hottest pop culture news delivered straight to your inbox!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.