It isn’t often that the goings on of British television makes its way across the pond to our side of things, but in this case, Americans can’t ignore this; they’ve messed with one of our own.
Well, technically, John Oliver of Last Week Tonight is of UK-descent (as he’s made multiply clear), but he’s sworn his allegiance to the United States audience. And now, his homeland is fighting back against him.
This weekend, Oliver devoted half of his show to gun control in America and the latter half–the one that made the news both overseas and here at home–on the current “Brexit” debate. For reasons unsaid (but rather obvious), British networks across the board are refusing to air this specific episode, The Radio Times reports.
And the UK networks aren’t pulling it due to its lack of popularity; quite the opposite, in fact. The fifteen-minute rant has so far accumulated over 3.3 million views on YouTube. No, it was the content that the UK–a nation with far more government-regulated media than that in the US–had a quarrel with.
A “Brexit,” or “British exit,” is currently the biggest issue on the country’s mind right now. Facing its citizens is a referendum asking to vote on whether or not the United Kingdom should remain a part of the European Union or leave it, making England and its subsidiary countries independent of EU jurisdiction. And while the pro-Brexit side is promoting feelings of liberty and freedom from bureaucratic oversight, Oliver had a few things to say in defense of the anti-Brexit party.
What Oliver was trying to make clear is that while theoretically telling the rest of Europe to “go f*** itself” sounds appealing to most Brits (“I feel it too,” the comedian said), the post-Brexit economic disasters that would follow would be extremely damaging. After all, the world economy is all intertwined and if there’s one major chance, the ripple effect is felt by the whole world (ever heard of the Great Depression?)
Oliver also characterized the people running the pro-Brexit movement in a greasy light, playing clip after clip of some of the influential figures dropping racist language and hateful ideals on camera and on the radio. The comedian also noted that the pro-Brexit group’s 2016 movie, Brexit: The Movie, lists arguments that have no basis (as it turns out, there aren’t actually 109 regulations on pillows in Europe).
And, of course, in classic Last Week Tonight fashion, Oliver composed a song to try and convince Brits to vote “no” to the Brexit directly mocking the EU’s official song. Unfortunately, no Brit is going to be able to watch the performance, nor the entire episode, until after the referendum has come to pass. The channel that normally airs the show, Sky Atlantic, claims the reason for this is broadcasting regulations.
“Sky have complied with the Ofcom broadcasting restrictions at times of elections and referendums that prohibit us showing this section of the programme at this moment in time. We will be able to show it once the polls have closed on Thursday.”
And if that sounds mighty suspicious on American ears, don’t fret; British ears are hearing it exactly the same.
— Chris Hardiman (@AJoyForever83) June 20, 2016
No other British network has yet picked up the torch to try and air the show themselves (likely due to more “broadcasting restrictions”), but it is still possible for Brits to watch the clip through YouTube.
Otherwise, you can watch the full segment below.