John Oliver: 'This week America's dog-whistle racism became uncomfortably loud'

On Last Week Tonight, Oliver discussed ‘Unite the Right 2’ and a controversial anti-immigration monologue by Laura Ingraham

On Last Week Tonight, John Oliver discussed this past weekend’s “Unite the Right 2” rally, which occurred on the one-year anniversary of the riots in Charlottesville last summer.

“We begin with racists,” Oliver kicked things off. “They’re the reason 911 now has to answer calls with: ‘Is this a real emergency, or is there just a black person nearby?’

“As we tape this show, right now tonight, the ‘Unite the Right 2’ rally is winding down,” he continued. “A massive dozens of white nationalists apparently gathered in DC, where they were met by hundreds of counter-protesters calling them all assholes.”

“While that numerical discrepancy is heartening, let’s not get too reassured here,” Oliver noted. “Because this week also brought a visceral reminder of the problems that we’re facing.”

The host then showed footage from CNN, where a poll showed 49% of Americans think Donald Trump is a racist while 47% don’t.

“It is both shocking that it’s 49% and it’s equally shocking that it’s only 49%,” Oliver said. “It’s like only 49% of people thinking that Kermit is a frog.

“Today’s demonstration,” Oliver continued, “is just the culmination of a week in which America’s regular dog-whistle racism became uncomfortably loud.”

He proceeded to show a widely derided clip from Fox News’ anchor Laura Ingraham’s broadcast last week. In it, she says “the America we know and love doesn’t exist any more”, blaming both illegal immigration and legal immigration, which she said “progressives love”.

“Wow, she just came right out and said it, in the scripted commentary, straight down the camera, knowing her mic was on,” the host said. “No economic anxiety, no ‘Some of them are good people’. Just: ‘I don’t want people who don’t look like this here.’”

Oliver went on: “While Ingraham later tried to say her remarks had nothing to do with race, it is worth noting that no less an authority than David Duke, former grand wizard of the Klan, called it one of the most important truthful monologues in the history of the mainstream media.

“When the former head of the Klan likes what you’re doing, that should give you real pause,” Oliver said. “Let me put it this way: if immediately after this taping, Dr Larry Nassar caught me in the hallway and said: ‘Hey man, loved your show,’ I’d think long and hard about what the fuck I just said.”


Jake Nevins

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
John Oliver on America's corporate tax reform: 'We absolutely blew it'
As the deadline for US tax returns looms, the comic spoke about how Trump’s tax reform has made business easier for big companies

Guardian staff

16, Apr, 2018 @3:20 PM

Article image
John Oliver on Donald Trump: 'The Harvey Weinstein of presidents'
The Last Week Tonight host discussed the sexual harassment allegations aimed at the Hollywood mogul and Trump’s decaying relationship with his cabinet

Guardian staff

09, Oct, 2017 @2:48 PM

Article image
John Oliver on Trumpcare: 'the Ted Cruz of healthcare legislation'
The host of Last Week Tonight explained why the latest healthcare reform will hurt many Americans, especially those who voted for Trump

Guardian staff

13, Mar, 2017 @3:22 PM

Article image
John Oliver on Trump's refusal to concede: 'Absolutely unforgivable'
The Last Week Tonight host debunks Trump’s baseless claims of fraud and warns agains the damage of humoring the president

Adrian Horton

16, Nov, 2020 @5:39 PM

Article image
John Oliver: Trump's response to Puerto Rico relief was 'horribly racist'
The Last Week Tonight host criticized the president’s claim that ‘the primary obstacle to hurricane relief has been Puerto Rican laziness’

Guardian staff

02, Oct, 2017 @2:32 PM

Article image
John Oliver challenges Trump on election results: 'Take the bet, Donald'
The Last Week Tonight host ridicules Trump’s recent performances and concocts a plan to get the Republican candidate to concede

Benjamin Lee

24, Oct, 2016 @4:14 PM

Article image
John Oliver on migrant children: 'Trump said he couldn’t do a thing, then did it'
On Last Week Tonight, John Oliver discussed Trump’s reversal of his family separation policy after a widespread backlash

Jake Nevins

25, Jun, 2018 @2:00 PM

Article image
John Oliver on the Paris climate deal: 'Trump may have done us a tiny favor'
On Last Week Tonight, the host mocked the president for his decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement

Jake Nevins

05, Jun, 2017 @3:54 PM

Article image
John Oliver on Trump's rhetoric: 'Something we cannot afford to get numb to'
The Last Week Tonight host connected the twin mass shootings to ‘white national and anti-immigrant hysteria’ fostered by Trump

Adrian Horton

05, Aug, 2019 @2:54 PM

Article image
John Oliver on Trump's wiretapping claims: 'Stupid Watergate'
The comic takes aim at the president’s baseless claims against Obama and questions his unreliable media diet

Guardian staff

06, Mar, 2017 @3:23 PM