“‘…[G]oodbye from me, Business Daddy.’ ”
That’s John Oliver finding ever more freedom for a corporate takedown on Sunday now that his HBO home for “Last Week Tonight” is officially no longer owned by AT&T.
Discovery, Inc. and AT&T Inc.
announced they have at last closed their transaction to combine AT&T’s WarnerMedia business (which includes HBO, CNN, TBS and other names) with Discovery. The combination creates a standalone global media and entertainment company, Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc., which began trading under the ticker WBD
Oliver has previously taken issue with AT&T over its connection with the network One America News (OAN), which has been well documented in pushing several disproven conspiracy theories. Much attention has focused on its broadcasts around COVID-19 and the 2020 presidential election result, among others. The channel is also referred to as OANN —One America News Network. The Poynter Institute’s Politifact has labeled the Robert Herring-founded property as a conservative cable news service, although other observers that might track its reporting consider it a far-right-wing outlet.
Oliver on Sunday showed a clip of an OAN anchor announcing the completed merger news to viewers: “Come Monday, you will no longer see One America News on a certain satellite provider, which I won’t even mention because I don’t like uttering their name out of my mouth,” the anchor said.
“Just so you know, the provider that he’s referring to there is DIrecTV, which is a subsidiary of a parent company I will not mention because I don’t even like uttering their name out of my mouth,” Oliver said on his Sunday program, which has aired for eight seasons and is contracted at least through 2023.
“Interestingly, as of Friday, AT&T officially no longer owns us, so it is goodbye from me, Business Daddy…,” Oliver continued, addressing the media giant that includes mobile phone service in its vast product portfolio. “Let me just say this,” he added, giving two middle fingers pointed directly to the screen, “which is frankly two more bars than you have ever had.”
Some posters did try to warn Oliver that splitting up the ownership pie looks to leave WarnerMedia with a still-generous slice of HBO.
Traditional media wasn’t the only business under fire from Oliver.
The host also lambasted the “sprawling, unregulated ecosystem” that allows for companies to use personal data to target consumers. This attack also making the rounds on social media on Monday.
Oliver shared a horrifying story of a stalker who killed a former classmate after finding her with information he brought for $45. And, to drive home the risk of a digital Wild West, he threatened to blackmail lawmakers — with personal data that he legally obtained online.