8:31am PT by Katherine Schaffstall
John Oliver Criticizes the Media's "Clumsy" Coverage of International Women's Day
John Oliver reflected on the media’s coverage of International Women’s Day on Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight. “That one special day a year for half the population of earth. Knock yourselves out, three and a half billion people,” the host exclaimed.
A number of brands tried to get in on celebrating the holiday, including McDonald’s, which flipped its iconic golden arches upside down. The host joked, “"I guess the 'M' is for 'men' the rest of the time.” Brawny also tried to get in on honoring women with a “Who’s Your Shero?” campaign. "We consulted with some linguistics experts, and it turns out there's already a word for 'women's heroes,' and it's the word 'heroes,'" said Oliver.
The host also discussed Mattel’s releasing Barbie dolls of figures such as Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo and Katherine Johnson. Oliver explained one newscaster’s troubling coverage of the dolls. After a female newscaster stated that she liked the Frida Kahlo doll, her male co-host responded that he likes Salma Hayak, who portrays the artist in the 2002 biopic Frida.
“It was a segment about women’s empowerment, children’s toys and a long dead artist,” Oliver said, adding that he assumed that the newscaster’s rationale for his comments were along the lines of “With God as my witness, I will make this Women’s Day segment about my dick.”
Oliver also saw some problematic behavior on CBS This Morning, which recently fired Charlie Rose following multiple sexual harassment allegations.
While transitioning from a clip about dogs, CBS This Morning hosts Norah O’Donnell and John Dickerson used baby talk to communicate on-air. "There are other people in the room," co-host Gayle King reminded them.
“Gayle’s right. There are people in the room, but maybe we should focus on who’s not in the room,” Oliver said as a picture of Rose appeared onscreen. “I’m just saying, it seems that CBS This Morning is less a morning show and more two hours of incriminating office surveillance footage that accidentally gets broadcast across the country every day.”
Philadelphia-based anchor Mike Jerrick also got a special shoutout in the segment. A short clip was shown of some of Jerrick’s inappropriate comments, including him asking his female co-hosts, “What’s the deal? Why do you need your own day?” He also asked one co-host if she has ever cheated on her husband and asked another how she keeps her “girlish figure” while eating a snack. The most questionable comment takes place when Jerrick showcases a doll of one of his co-hosts. When asked what he does with the doll, he responded, “I put it by my bedside. So I can wake up in the morning, open my eyes and see you.”
Unsurprisingly, Oliver had a lot to say about Jerrick’s behavior. “I would say that we should now all take a shower after that, but I feel like Mike Jerrick would hear that and say, ‘Nice,’” he said.
The host concluded the segment by sharing how the U.K.’s “Foreign Secretary and dumpy Swedish Beatle” Boris Johnson spent the day. While visiting a school, Johnson explained to the students how Egyptian ruler Cleopatra committed suicide.
"I would happily watch hours of Boris Johnson explaining grim endings to distracted children,” stated Oliver. “So then Sara loses her mind; Harry has his arm amputated; and Marion performs a sex show for drugs. And that was the end of Requiem for a Dream, children."