John Oliver discusses Monkeypox and Warner Bros.’ ‘Batgirl’

John Oliver managed to weave a pointed dig at his employer, Warner Bros. Discovery, into the newest episode of “Last Week Tonight,” which targeted on the unfold of the monkeypox virus.

Whereas setting the report straight concerning the monkeypox outbreak, Oliver took a second Sunday to handle Warner Bros.’ controversial choice to scrap “Batgirl” earlier than the superhero film had an opportunity to debut on HBO Max. Warner Bros. Discovery oversees all issues Warner Bros., HBO and HBO Max — together with the DC prolonged movie universe and “Last Week Tonight.”

“We let 20 million doses [of the monkeypox vaccine] expire,” Oliver mentioned. “We just did that — which seems especially unconscionable given … multiple African countries have had outbreaks of monkeypox for decades now and might have appreciated a shot or two.

“Sharing vaccines would have served two purposes: basic human decency, but also abject selfishness in that stopping outbreaks over there might well have prevented the current outbreak over here.”

Subsequent got here Oliver’s not-so-subtle swipe at Warner Bros. Discovery, which — underneath new management — has been quietly scrubbing unique content material from HBO Max after abandoning plans to launch “Batgirl” on the streaming platform. By the point the studio big killed the high-profile venture, starring Leslie Grace within the titular position, “Batgirl” had already price $90 million to make.

“For some reason, we let the vaccines sit unused on a shelf in our reserves, like an expired Chobani [yogurt] or a $90-million movie on HBO Max,” Oliver quipped.

“By the way: Hi there, new business daddy! Seems like you’re doing a really great job. I do get the vague sense that you’re burning down my network for the insurance money, but I’m sure that that will pass.”

Elsewhere in his phase concerning the monkeypox outbreak — which the TV host in comparison with former “Glee” star Lea Michelle’s current comeback (“an unpleasant surprise” that has been “getting more and more urgent over the past two months”) — Oliver debunked myths concerning the virus which have the potential to trigger additional hurt.

“Sadly, as with COVID, there is a lot of misinformation flying around right now online,” Oliver mentioned.

“There are theories like monkeypox can be caused by the COVID vaccine — which it can’t — and that it escaped from a lab — which it didn’t. It seems a spreading virus, yet again, is bringing out the worst in people, including targeting those suspected of carrying it.”

After briefly outlining the origins of the monkeypox virus, what the signs are and the way the sickness spreads, Oliver partially blamed the federal government’s botched rollout of monkeypox remedies and vaccines on systemic homophobia.

Whereas monkeypox has been largely spreading amongst males who’ve intercourse with males in addition to transgender and nonbinary folks, well being officers warn that anybody can contract the virus by means of direct contact with infectious sores, scabs or physique fluids, in addition to by touching clothes or bedding utilized by somebody with the illness.

“You have to believe that if monkeypox was spreading largely through heterosexual sex, things would be drastically different,” Oliver mentioned. “By now, we’d probably be able to get a free vaccine with purchase at every J.Crew in the country.

“It is not homophobic to acknowledge who is currently most affected,” he continued. “What is homophobic is when you blame or shame the people who are suffering or when you decide you don’t need to care about this because you don’t see their lives as valuable or their suffering as consequential. And that is where there are strong echoes of the AIDS crisis in some of the discussion around monkeypox.”

On the finish of the installment, Oliver positioned the monkeypox emergency as a microcosm of bigger societal points, comparable to homophobia, racism and flaws in the US public well being system.

“Even if we do contain this outbreak and … build up our public-health infrastructure, there is a bigger conversation we’re having here because, for far too long, we’ve indulged in the magical thinking that viruses that exist somewhere else A. don’t matter and B. will stay there. And monkeypox is such a clear example of how flawed and racist that thinking is,” Oliver mentioned.

“But, to be fair, indifference to those suffering from pox viruses has been the story of America from Day One. … I know fixing all of this may feel daunting, but we are living through the alternative right now, and it’s not great.”