John Oliver was not rooting for Floyd Mayweather on Saturday night.
On Sunday night’s edition of HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, which has fast become must-see TV, the British host called Mayweather, who has a very long, awful history of misogyny—seven different assault charges from five different women, that we know about—a “woman-battering human landfill.”
And that was only the third or fourth most spot-on observation he made on the program.
While the main event was a lengthy takedown of standardized testing, for one of his opening bouts, Oliver eviscerated the media’s coverage of the Baltimore protests (and riots) in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death while in police custody.
“It has been a delicate situation handled by the media with all the deft, not-at-all racist touch that they’ve become known for,” Oliver said. “Please watch as Geraldo Rivera greets someone as Russell Simmons who is absolutely not Russell Simmons.”
Yes, the man marching with NBA star—and Baltimore native—Carmelo Anthony is none other than Kevin Liles, who bears only a very slight resemblance to Simmons.
“Geraldo, you do realize that when African Americans stand together as one, that does not mean they’re all literally the same person, right?” he continued. “Geraldo Rivera is supposed to be a journalist, and I suppose we should all be thankful that at least none of his colleagues made the same mistake.”
Oliver then cut to a clip of CNN reporter Brian Todd, who also mistook Liles for Simmons—and not only that, kept harassing him about it, proclaiming, “I’m not sure I believe you. We think this is Russell Simmons, Wolf.”
Then Oliver got serious. “This week has shone a serious light on the disparities in Baltimore between the community and the police force—disparities that were highlighted when six officers were arrested on charges in Gray’s death, and were then released on bail,” he said. He threw to a news clip announcing that the six officers charged in Gray’s death had bail amounts ranging from $250,000-300,000.
“That sounds like a fair amount for such serious charges, but juxtapose that with the bail set for people involved in the protests, like this 18-year-old who helped smash in the windows of several cars, including a police car. How much was his bail?” asked Oliver.
The young man in question is Allan Bullock, who allegedly was captured on film bashing in the windows of an unmarked police car with a traffic cone. And his bail was set at $500,000—more than for any of the officers charged with Gray’s death.
“Five hundred thousand dollars for breaking car windows!” he said. “To put that in context, even Robert Durst had his bail set at just $300,000 after definitely not killing that guy in Galveston, Texas. That amount of money makes absolutely no sense! That kid’s crimes were misdemeanors, he turned himself in—in fact, the only explanation for his bail being set that high is that, just like Geraldo Rivera and that guy from CNN, judges in Baltimore can’t look at black people without seeing millionaire Russell Simmons.”