John Oliver’s still enjoying his return to a live audience, and this week, he fired shots at Fox and Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade for his most awkward obsession, but before that happened, the Last Week Tonight host wasn’t afraid (as he never is) to spare some words to skewer some right-leaning actions of current HBO parent company AT&T. Only one month ago, Oliver took aim at the multinational conglomerate for making political donations to Texas legislators who worked to pass Texas’ insane new abortion law. And last week, a Reuters investigative report revealed how AT&T played a massive role “in creating and funding OAN,” the conservative news network (and Fox News competitor) that continues to peddle baseless (and dangerous) election-fraud and pandemic-centered conspiracy theories.
As Oliver put things, AT&T has been “up to some sh*t.” This follows Reuters’ reporting of testimony from OAN CEO and founder, Robert Herring Sr., who stated (during a deposition) that AT&T executives “told us they wanted a conservative network.” To that, Herring says that he jumped at the offering, and Oliver is not impressed because AT&T reportedly funds 90% of what’s essentially a far-right-wing factory at Herring Networks.
“AT&T is still technically our business daddy,” Oliver explained while beginning his rant. “Making OAN our business step-sibling, and not in a hot way.” In the end, this grew very dramatic. “You’re a terrible company. You do bad things. and you make the world worse.”
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) October 11, 2021
Earlier in the segment, Oliver outlined how AT&T’s deep pockets have nurtured OAN, and “with that help, OAN has grown into the toxic network it is today, one that’s happy to give a platform to batsh*t election fraud theories from America’s most out-of-breath pillow fetishist.” That’s a shoutout to MyPillow Guy Mike Lindell, and Oliver certainly wasn’t buying AT&T’s denial that they have any OAN financial interest, especially while showing a host declaring that those who ran voting machines in 2020 were guilty of “treason” before calling for what Oliver sums up as a “mass execution.”
As entirely absurd as that sounds, as the Daily Beast previously reported, this really happened on OAN airwaves. This led Oliver to gleefully declare how happy he was that “AT&T told us Direct TV respects the editorial independence of the channels it carries.” That means that not only does AT&T support editorial independence for OAN, it also does so for WarnerMedia shows including Last Week Tonight. And with that, he decided to “offer some constructive feedback to AT&T.” Here come some new slogans:
“Take its recent campaign, ‘More for your thing. That’s our thing.’ which is, respectfully, complete gibberish. It sounds like Yoda pitching a penis-enlargement device. It is so nonsensical, I have to assume something was lost in communication, which actually would be more appropriate slogan for the company. And if you don’t like that slogan, AT&T, don’t worry, I’ve got more.”
How about, ‘AT&T, all the savvy business savvy of Quibi without the courtesy of committing corporate suicide’? Or ‘AT&T, if you run a cable out the back of your headquarters and plug it into T-Mobile’s network while they aren’t looking, that’s legal, right? Asking for a friend.”
Of course, AT&T is currently still aiming to spinoff into a deal with Discovery, and Oliver asked them to please not “bother keeping in touch” following the merger. Then came the kicker: “Although that really shouldn’t be a problem for you. You’re AT&T, it’s not like your messages will go through anyway.”