John Oliver has strong words for unvaccinated adults: ‘You’re the f—ing problem’

On Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver bemoaned how “Hot Vax Summer” is giving way to “Dips— Autumn,” as America’s Covid-19 cases rise due to the Delta variant. Alarmingly, children are being infected at a high rate, accounting for nearly 15 percent of new cases and reaching record-high hospitalizations during the pandemic.

One of the hardest-hit states is Florida, whose governor, Ron DeSantis, said during a speech at a children’s hospital that “these waves are something you just have to deal with. Oliver said that if you told him a few years ago that the Republican governor of Florida had said that, he would have assumed the governor would have been talking about Miami sinking into the ocean, “not a completely different, totally self-induced crisis.” 

Oliver added that it was galling to hear DeSantis say “deal with it” when he is choosing to not deal with it at all. DeSantis banned mask mandates in schools. The debate over mask mandates in schools is very heated, with school board meetings turning into shouting matches and drawing the attention of people like North Carolina representative Madison Cawthorn, who went to a school board meeting in Buncombe County, North Carolina and said that “the greatest threat to our children today does not come from Covid-19. It comes from woke liberal government officials like you, who think they are all-knowing and all-wise.” Cawthorn invoked his ancestor, a man named Abraham Kuykendall, a settler of the county who didn’t do all that he did so that “a woke school board could systematically strip the responsibility from the hands of parents and guardians to determine what happens with their children.” 

“Madison Cawthorn thinks the biggest threat to children is school board members who think they’re omniscient,” Oliver said. “I’d say, I was surprised by that. But this is a man who once posted this video of himself beating up a tree, so he clearly loves to pick useless fights against imaginary opponents where he comes out looking like a complete assh—.”

Oliver did some research on Cawthorn’s ancestor Abraham Kuykendall and found that he was one of the earliest slave owners in the county. “So, next time you’re trying to prove a point about how parents should decide what’s better for their kids, maybe don’t use a guy who decided the best thing for other people’s kids was for him to own them,” he concluded.

Oliver tried to talk about the school mask mandate question with some nuance, acknowledging the argument that since Covid cases in children tend to be mild, it’s more harmful for them to wear masks. But Oliver said that there’s so much we still don’t know about the Delta variant and how it affects kids, and we do know for certain that it affects adults much worse, “and in many communities, for some f—ing reason, there are lots of unvaccinated adults to whom kids could transmit the virus.” That nuance is being lost in ugly scenes like people who speak up in favor of mask mandates at school board meetings being threatened in the parking lot by other attendees who say “we know who you are.” 

“We are only fighting about masks in schools because there are a bunch of foolish adults that have decided not to get the vaccine,” Oliver said. “And to all of them, I can only say — to quote a bunch of upsettingly loud idiots — ‘We know who you are,’ and you’re the f—ing problem.”

Oliver’s main story was on ransomware. That segment can be watched on YouTube. The full episode is available on HBO Max. 

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