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

John Oliver managed to weave his employer, Warner Bros. Discovery, into the latest episode of “Last Week Tonight,” which focused on the spread of the monkeypox virus.

While clarifying the monkeypox outbreak, Oliver took a moment to reach out to Warner Bros. on Sunday. controversial decision to scrap Batgirl before the superhero film had a chance to debut on HBO Max. Warner Bros. Discovery monitors all things Warner Bros., HBO and HBO Max – including the expanded DC movie universe and Last Week Tonight.

“We have given away 20 million doses [of the monkeypox vaccine] lapsed,” said Oliver. “We just did that – which seems particularly ruthless considering several African countries have had monkeypox outbreaks for decades and might have appreciated a vaccination or two.

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

Next came Oliver’s not-so-subtle smack at Warner Bros. Discovery, which — under new leadership — has quietly cleaned up original content from HBO Max after abandoning plans to release “Batgirl” on the streaming platform. By the time the studio giant wrapped up the high-profile project, starring Leslie Grace, Batgirl had already cost $90 million.

“For some reason we leave the vaccines 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: Hello, new business daddy! Seems like you’re doing a really great job. I have a vague feeling that you are going to burn my network down for the insurance money, but I’m sure that will pass.”

Elsewhere in his section on the monkeypox outbreak – which the TV host likened to former “Glee” star Lea Michelle’s recent comeback (“an unpleasant surprise” that “has become increasingly urgent over the past two months”) – debunked Oliver myths about the virus that have the potential to cause further damage.

“Unfortunately, as with COVID, there is a lot of misinformation circulating online right now,” Oliver said.

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

After briefly outlining the origins of the monkeypox virus, the symptoms and how the disease spread, Oliver blamed systemic homophobia in part for the government’s botched introduction of monkeypox treatments and vaccinations.

While monkeypox has spread widely among men who have sex with men, as well as transgender and non-binary people, health officials warn that anyone can contract it through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs, or bodily fluids, as well as by touching clothing or bedding containing it the virus can infect used by someone with the disease.

“You have to think that things would be drastically different if monkeypox spread primarily through straight sex,” Oliver said. “By now we could probably get a free vaccine with purchase at every J.Crew in the country.

“It’s not homophobic in acknowledging who is most affected right now,” he continued. “What is homophobic is when you blame or shame the people who are suffering, or when you decide that you don’t need to care because you don’t see their lives as valuable or their suffering as a consequence. And here, in some discussions about monkeypox, there are strong echoes of the AIDS crisis.”

At the end of the segment, Oliver positioned the monkeypox emergency as a microcosm of larger societal issues such as homophobia, racism, and deficiencies in the United States public health system.

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

“But, to be fair, indifference to those suffering from smallpox has been America’s history from day one. … I know it might be daunting to fix all of this, but we’re living through the alternative right now, and it’s not great.” John Oliver discusses Monkeypox and Warner Bros.’ ‘Batgirl’

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