John Oliver Episode Slamming Hotstar Released on the OTT Platform

Oliver had slammed Hotstar for not releasing an episode of Last Week Tonight that was critical of Modi.

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Despite previous instances of ‘self-censorship’, Hotstar has released the latest episode of Last Week Tonight in which comedian John Oliver sharply criticises the streaming platform and its parent company Disney.

In the episode, titled Sherrifs, Oliver slammed Hotstar for failing to release an earlier episode of the HBO show which was critical of the Modi administration. He also said that the platform has edited at least three other episodes in the last few months.

The comedian referenced an episode on the US census in which he had shown a clip of an ad from the 80s featuring Mickey Mouse and joked that Mickey was a cocaine addict. Hotstar cut the joke out entirely with a jarring transition to a close-up of Oliver's face. Another joke about Donald Duck’s penis being “shaped like a corkscrew”, in an episode on China’s one child policy, was also similarly censored. These segments have been retained in full despite being previously cut.

Disney owns all Star India properties, including Hotstar, as part of a deal struck in 2019.

“I frankly resent that factually accurate joke being cut out almost more than I resent our Modi episode being pulled,” Oliver says. Referencing the character he voiced in The Lion King, he said,

“And let me say this to Hotstar right now. If you think that you have to remove anything that reflects poorly on Disney from this show, I have some bad news for you, my friend. I’m f*****g Zazu right here. Everything that comes out of this beak is a Disney fact.”
John Oliver, Comedian

Oliver also shared a clip of Arnab Goswami’s response following the Modi episode in which the Republic TV anchor referred to him as an “ignoramus of exceedingly global proportions; a man whose only job is as a comedian - he’s not even smart enough to be his satirist.” The comedian mocked Goswami’s tactics calling him the Tucker Carlson of Indian TV, a reference to the conservative American Fox News host.

The Quint has reached out to Hotstar for an official statement. This story will be updated if one is received.

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