If you’re a regular viewer of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, you’ll already be aware of the long-running bit in which he goes after AT&T, the company that currently owns HBO and is therefore technically Oliver’s boss.
But this week he wasn’t joking around.
After starting Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight with a section on Texas’ abortion ban — a new law that prohibits abortion after what lawmakers described as the detection of a fetal “heartbeat”, which can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy — Oliver turned his attention to corporate America’s glaring silence on the issue.
“So far, much of corporate America has decided to not weigh in on this,” Oliver explained. “A stark contrast to their recent willingness to speak out on racial justice, voting rights and other social issues. And it’s not just silence here: A major donor to the sponsors and co-sponsors of this bill is a political action committee belonging to AT&T who, pending approval of our sale to Discovery, are still technically our business daddy.”
Oliver went on to say that Last Week Tonight had reached out to AT&T for comment, and they were told “AT&T has never taken a stance on abortion” and that “Employee PAC contributions to Texas legislators went to both supporters and opponents of the Texas legislation.”
As you can probably imagine, their response didn’t go down well with Oliver.
“Listen, not taking a stance on this issue right now is taking a stance, and both sides-ing abortion isn’t really the PR slam dunk that they seem to think it is,” he said.
“Although it is certainly on brand for them; AT&T clearly likes their public statements the same way that they like their cell signal: hilariously fucking weak.”
You can watch Oliver’s address in the latest episode of Last Week Tonight, streaming on HBO Max.