John Oliver Revisits Surreal Matt Lauer-Bill O’Reilly Interview During Episode About Workplace Harassment

By A.J. Katz 

Sexual harassment in the workplace was the focus of last night’s episode of HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

The episode aired just two days after Ronan Farrow‘s bombshell story for The New Yorker was published. It details allegations of sexual harassment against CBS CEO Les Moonves and former CBS News chairman and current 60 Minutes ep Jeff Fager spanning decades.

Oliver mentions the story briefly about one minute in:


Oliver: Workplace harassment is something important to discuss, and it is in the headlines again this week with The New Yorker’s expose about CBS and Les Moonves, coming hot on the heels of investigations into everyone ranging from Harvey Weinstein, to Charlie Rose

Ironically, Last Week Tonight is shot in the CBS Broadcast Center in New York.

Later in the episode, the award-winning comedian and satirist compared workplace harassment today vs. in the 1980s and ’90s. He also sat down for an interview with Anita Hill. In 1991, Hill accused then-U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment and gave a lengthy testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Oliver and Hill talked about sexual harassment back in 1991 vs. where things stand in 2018. They also talked about the state of the law right now on harassment and certain things that do need to be cleared up.

Before that interview was shown, Oliver took a look at workplaces where allegations of sexual harassment have been well-documented in recent years, including the U.S. Forest Service, as well as one of his favorite punching bags: Fox News.

One of the more surreal moments of the episode was when he showed a clip from Matt Lauer‘s Today show interview with Bill O’Reilly from September 2017, five months after the former Fox News star had been fired over allegations of sexual harassment.

11:00 in:

O’Reilly: Every allegation in this area is a conviction, they don’t look for the truth –

Lauer: But, think about those five women and what they did  – they  came forward and filed complaints against the biggest star at the network they worked at…think of how intimidating that must have been, how nerve wracking that must have been…doesn’t that tell you how strongly they felt about the way they were treated by you?

The irony, of course, is that Lauer was fired from NBC News about two months after the O’Reilly interview after a “detailed complaint” of “inappropriate sexual behavior.”

After the clip is played, Oliver says: “Wow, that is an admirably confrontational question, Matt Lauer. You have really backed him into a corner, pressured you into giving him what you want, and looked the door behind you; metaphorically, of course.”