John Oliver Rips HBO Parent AT&T Over Support of "White Nationalist" Steve King

"Of course AT&T didn't catch on to King's white nationalism — picking up on clear signals isn't exactly their forte," Oliver said on Sunday's 'Last Week Tonight.'
Eric Liebowitz/HBO
John Oliver

John Oliver took AT&T to task on Sunday's Last Week Tonight, which airs on HBO — which, yes, is now owned by AT&T.

On Friday, AT&T's public policy account tweeted that its employee PAC would no longer be donating to Iowa Rep. Steve King, who is seeking a ninth term. King recently publicly declared his support for Toronto mayoral candidate Faith Goldy, who has been labeled a white nationalist, and met with leaders of the Austria Freedom Party, which has been linked to Nazis and whose founder was reportedly in the SS.

"In addition to our prior statement, we want to let you know that the AT&T employees who manage the disbursements of our employee PAC have now had the opportunity to review the controversy regarding Rep. Steve King, and have determined that the PAC will not make future … contributions to him. The committee concluded that further support of Rep. King would not be consistent with one of our core values. … 'Stand for Equality.'"

Oliver on Sunday night showed a clip of King being asked at a news conference if he identifies as a white nationalist, which King refused to answer and then finally told the reporter to "stop it!"

Quipped Oliver: "That is a spectacular whiff when the question is simply, 'Are you a white supremacist?' People who aren't white supremacists say 'no,' and even people who are white supremacists know to say 'no,' so it takes a special mix of racism and stupid to fuck that one up."

Oliver then ripped AT&T and other companies, including Purina and Land O'Lakes, for taking so long to arrive at the decision to stop supporting King.

"The news really shouldn't be, 'These companies bailed on him' so much as, 'They were OK with him for a shockingly long time,'" said Oliver. "Although of course AT&T didn't catch on to King's white nationalism — picking up on clear signals isn't exactly their forte. How do you like dem apples, business daddy?" he said, tweaking a famous line from 1997's Good Will Hunting. "I bet you don't like dem apples, do you?"