John Oliver Talks Workplace Sexual Harassment and #MeToo with Anita Hill on Last Week TonightImages via HBO/YouTube Comedy News john oliver
On Sunday night’s episode of Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver took on sexual harassment in the workplace and the #MeToo movement. The segment came days after CBS Chief Les Moonves was accused by six different women of sexual harassment and derailment of their careers in a New Yorker story.
“Workplace harassment is something important to discuss, and it’s been in the headlines again this week with the New Yorker exposé about CBS’ Les Moonves coming hot on the heels of similar investigations into everyone from Harvey Weinstein to Charlie Rose to SpongeBob, who five different employees accused of being unable to keep his sponge dick in his SquarePants,” Oliver joked.
The comedian pointed out that it seems we’re “on the verge of a national reckoning about sexual harassment” and pointed to the 1990s when a similar social movement sprang up. He pointed out that Ford paid out large settlements on the issue, a wave of women ran for office and that “Year of the Woman” was the theme of the 1992 Oscars, all events that have more or less recurred during today’s #MeToo movement.
Pointing to a performance at the ‘92 Oscars that referenced Hillary Clinton, Oliver joked, “The only way that could have been any more on the nose is if after they sang ‘Hillary will lead the way’ Donald Trump came on stage, groped the backup dancers and somehow won Best Picture despite losing the popular vote.”
Oliver also sat down for an interview with Anita Hill, who, in 1991, sat down in front of the Senate to testify for eight hours about how Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her. Hill, who is now a professor at Brandeis University, praised the #MeToo movement for renewing awareness of the issue.
“We need you to step up and realize that, at this point in time, there are no innocent bystanders,” she said. “If you are aware of something—you acknowledge it; you know it’s wrong; but you don’t do anything about it—it’s the same as participating in it.”
Perhaps the most poignant statement of the entire segment is Hill’s response to Oliver asking if men should be scared to be alone with women, to which she simply answered, “Not if they’re not harassers.” Watch the full clip below.