Angered viewers took to social media to question why two segments had been dropped from the British version of the HBO satire show, which followed the UK royal’s passing last Friday.
The comments in question came in a post-opening credits segment. During this, Oliver lampooned several unexpected social media tributes to the Queen from the likes of cartoon character The Crazy Frog and Dominos Pizza, saying: “Obviously, we have to start with the UK, which is clearly still reeling from the shocking death of a 96-year-old woman from natural causes. It is a big moment this week and for some reason absolutely everyone felt they had to wade in on [it].”
In another comment minutes later, Oliver responded to new UK leader Liz Truss’ praise of profit-making companies by saying: “The nicest thing the Queen of England ever did for anyone was die the week that woman became Prime Minister. Because for at least a week, she’s not going to be getting justifiably destroyed for answers like that.”
Neither joke specifically targeted the Queen, but Deadline understands the broadcaster will not air Oliver’s comments on its UK and Ireland platforms.
Sky declined to comment. A shortened version of last night’s episode is still available on Sky Go and streaming service Now TV this morning. Neither HBO nor Last Week Tonight reps could be reached this morning in the UK.
Some of those who tweeted have linked to the unedited segment from the U.S. show. One claimed similar cuts had been made to the show when Elizabeth’s husband Prince Philip died last year, though Deadline has not been able to verify that.
Last Week Tonight last night won its seventh consecutive late-night Emmy in the Outstanding Variety Talk Series category.
Debate has broken out in the UK over perceived censorship of those seeking to downplay or criticize the monarchy as the nation mourns. Civil liberties groups have, for example, condemned the police’s response to anti-monarchy protestors in recent days, after reports of strong-arm tactics surfaced.
Here’s a selection of tweets regarding last night’s show.
— James/Jim/whatever (@jimmybearlondon) September 12, 2022
— Kraig (@___Kraig___) September 12, 2022
Very disappointed in @SkyUK censorship of @LastWeekTonight with @iamjohnoliver – we condemn other countries for this sort of behaviour. The audience is used to his irreverent style and light hearted comments. The “target” of his remarks was corporate social media!
— Ross McKillop (@rsmck) September 12, 2022
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