John Oliver Fans Believe That Warner Bros. Discovery Is Deliberately Sabotaging ‘Last Week Tonight’

If David Zaslav is trying to give Last Week Tonight with John Oliver the Coyote vs. Acme treatment as he’s been accused of doing by the show’s fans, Warner Bros. Discovery will find that any attempt to silence Oliver and his following is more likely to blow up in their face than a bundle of cartoon TNT.

Oliver has never been one to hold his tongue on topics of corporate fuckery, even when it upsets the latest “business daddies” of his many parent companies. Whether it’s AT&T, Warner Media, Discovery Inc. or some unholy combination of the three that’s holding the keys to Oliver’s castle, he has habitually refused to toe the company line when it comes to his political commentary, often mocking his “masters” by name in the process. 

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So, when Warner Bros. Discovery recently and surreptitiously purged the first nine seasons of Last Week Tonight from their streaming library following their head-scratching decision to place a moratorium on the show’s practice of releasing featured stories on YouTube the day after the episode airs, Oliver’s conspiratorially minded mega-fans cried foul.

Yesterday, a Last Week Tonight fan account on Twitter responded to another user’s exasperated request for someone to explain why Warner Bros. Discovery scrubbed the bulk of Last Week Tonight content from both public and paid platforms with their own theory that makes a little too much sense:

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Though the original poster deleted their tweet and @LastWeekT0night’s response garnered little attention on the platform, the theory picked up traction in the LiveJournal pop culture and gossip forum Oh No They Didn’t in a post titled “Warner Bros Discovery Is Sabotaging Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.” There, Oliver fans and Zaslav haters alike connected the dots on the decisions made by Max regarding the availability of Last Week Tonight episodes, clips and entire seasons.

“You know it’s WB-D fucking around on purpose because John Oliver has called them out for being terrible,” one user posited. “And that’s despite how many awards the show has won and how many people watch his show — even people who subscribe just for him. They’re just as bad as Netflix in fucking over creators.”

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Another went even further when estimating the motivations behind Zaslav and Warner Bros. Discovery’s apparent attempts to chase the pesky, corporate-unfriendly Oliver off of their platform, writing, “These companies... I saw something that said business owners are afraid to speak out against Trump in case he wins again and essentially puts a hit out on CEOs who allow it.”

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There’s certainly a precedent for a massive streaming platform to allow their business interests to clash with a political comedian’s ability to interrogate the actions of the rich and powerful — Jon Stewart famously left his show The Problem with Jon Stewart and AppleTV+ because Apple tried to ban him from interviewing certain guests and discussing certain topics, such as China and artificial intelligence.

Oliver himself has even suggested that the relationship between Last Week Tonight and Warner Bros. Discovery has been hostile from the jump, claiming on a February episode of WTF with Marc Maron that the show’s perennial success at the Emmy Awards only “buys us existence” at a company that inherited him and his production in their highly publicized multi-billion dollar merger. “It’s like new dads moving into the home,” Oliver said at the time. “If these gigantic mergers are anything, they’re just mass adoptions. And then you’re mad that these children would be bought.”

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Now, Zaslav's mouthiest and most political stepchild seems to be getting a bit of a Cinderella treatment from his "business daddy" as Warner Bros. Discovery tightens their grip on the Last Week Tonight library. However, pushing around Oliver over his outspoken criticisms isnt typically a great way to get people to pay less attention to him — just ask the thankfully deceased coal magnate Bob Murray how well that went for him.