Alec Baldwin is clarifying his reaction to Dustin Hoffman's recent public grilling over sexual harassment allegations, insisting guilty parties should be "punished" but not at the expense of innocent people's careers.
U.S. TV host John Oliver hit headlines after taking Hoffman to task over 30-year-old allegations of inappropriate behaviour during a New York panel discussion and 20th anniversary screening of his movie Wag the Dog on Monday night (04Dec17).
Hoffman previously apologised for purportedly harassing writer Anna Graham Hunter on the set of his TV movie Death of a Salesman in 1985, when she was 17, and at this week's event, he insisted the incident "didn't happen the way she reported" it.
When Oliver criticised his response, Hoffman, 80, declared, "You've put me on display here... You have indicted me... That's not innocent until proven guilty."
On Wednesday (06Dec17), Alec weighed in on the controversy by claiming talk show hosts like Oliver and Stephen Colbert had overstepped boundaries by using their platforms to challenge accused guests instead of simply discuss new projects.
"Talk shows were once promotional pit stops for some blithe chit chat about movies, etc.," he posted on Twitter. "Now the likes of @iamjohnoliver and @StephenAtHome have flipped that and they are beginning to resemble grand juries."
The Departed star expanded on his comments during a Thursday morning (07Dec17) appearance on U.S. show Today, when he tackled the sensitive subject with broadcaster Megyn Kelly.
During the interview, Alec made it clear he wasn't defending sexual predators, but he just wanted the public to exercise caution when reacting to the multitude of claims being made against Hollywood stars since disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was targeted in an initial New York Times expose in October (17).
"There's a lot of accusations and no proof yet; I don't want to see people get hurt," he said. "I want to see the people who really did something get convicted. I want the people who are wrong, I want them to be punished, but I don't want to see innocent people get hurt either."
Baldwin then appeared to offer some sympathy to Hoffman, noting that the encounter he had with his accuser happened during a time when "sexualised by-play" was commonplace, although it was still "wrong".
"Where we live now is that there's a lot of things that you just don't do...," he continued. "They (women) put up with it more (back then), and now they don't put up with it."
Alec also offered up his thoughts on his filmmaker pal James Toback, who has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by more than 30 women in recent weeks, admitting he cannot understand why any man would force themselves upon a woman.
He said, "Anybody who's guilty of this predatory behaviour, men that I know... we don't understand men who want a woman, her tears streaming down her face and she's begging you not to do the thing you're going to do, and most men that I know say, 'What's with that?'"
Alec, who previously confessed to bullying women in the past, concluded the conversation by insisting there has to be a behavioral shift in society as a whole to combat misconduct issues.
"We need to have more understanding of how we treat people," he explained.