While the late-night publicist eponymous and host HBO’s Last week tonight with John Oliver It is not uncommon to make outlandish allegations against his ideological opponents, and seldom are his targets as extraordinary as the last entity to which he so incensed, Law and order.
premiering on NBC on September 12, 1990, Law and order It is a procedural-legal police television drama focusing on the lives and duties of various law enforcement officers.
Created by Dick Wolf, if not the most well-known actor in the genre, the series has proven so popular over the past 31 years that it has since spawned a number of successful spin-offs including criminal motive And the Special Victims Unit.
On the September 11 episode of last week tonightOliver targeted the police-centric franchise not because of its quality, but rather its portrayal of officers.
According to him, Law and order It gives Americans a misconception that police officers succeed in reducing crime in high-crime neighborhoods because it does not highlight “corruption and systemic racism” in the American justice system.
“The perpetrators in the show are disproportionately white, male, elderly, and middle or upper classes,” he said. “The result of all these creative decisions is that instead of presenting a flawed system riddled with structural racism, the show presents exceptionally competent cops working within a largely fair framework that often condemns white people.”
“I know it’s supposed to be entertainment, and I’m honestly, I’m not telling you not to watch it,” he would later try to claim, though he just went on a rant for 30 minutes about how harmful the show was. “It’s totally fine to enjoy it, and it’s totally understandable to want [the character of] Olivia Benson is there, but it’s important to remember how far away she is from anything resembling reality.”
“This is what Law and order It does,” he asserted. “It offers a world where the police can always figure out who did it, defense attorneys have annoying obstacles to overcome, and even if the cop bullies a topic, it’s all in pursuit of a fair outcome, and that imagination explodes in you endless replays. , marathons, under the guise of a very well-produced and very interesting television.”
“But underneath it all, it’s a commercial. And an advertisement made by a man [Dick Wolf] who, as he put it, is a relentless proponent of law enforcement,” concluded Oliver. “And he is very good at selling things, and in this case, he sells an entire fantasy that many people in this country are happy to buy.”
This isn’t the first time Oliver has brought up the topic of “systemic racism,” nor is it the first time he’s used his platform to criticize US police officers.
In April 2021, we talked about the then-recent shooting of Adam ToledoThe late-night expert lasted The lie – especially at a time when belief in said lie could have led to riots and violence across the country – is that “black people, they still get killed by the police they pay for”.
“If you’ve been watching the news all this week, you’re probably exhausted,” he continued. “Blacks in America certainly aren’t just from this week, of course, but, you know, from everything.”
“The truth is that it is again painfully clear that we, and when I say we, I mean that white America must stop talking about a fundamental change in policing and actually make it happen because this cycle of state violence against black lives is to be stopped,” he declared. “So put on your shoes, leave the house, march in the streets, and demand a better country in which blacks are treated with basic respect.”