John Oliver Calls Out HBO’s ‘Business Daddy’ AT&T Over Silence on Texas Abortion Ban

“Not taking a stance on this issue right now is taking a stance,” late-night host says in first COVID-era show back in studio

HBO’s John Oliver went after AT&T, his network’s parent company, on Sunday, lambasting HBO’s “business daddy” for staying silent on the anti-abortion law in Texas.

In his first show back in the studio since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Oliver said, “So far, much of corporate America has decided to not weigh in on this — a stark contrast to their recent willingness to speak out on racial justice, voting rights and other social issues — and it’s not just silence here: A major donor to the sponsors and co-sponsors of this bill is a political action committee belonging to AT&T who, pending approval of our sale to Discovery, are still technically our business daddy.”

He told viewers that his team had reached out to AT&T and received the following statement: “Employee PAC contributions to Texas legislators went to both supporters and opponents of the Texas legislation.” The AT&T representative said that the company had never taken a stance on abortion, he noted.

He called that an “amazing sentence,” but went further, adding, “Listen, not taking a stance on this issue right now is taking a stance and both sides-ing abortion isn’t really the PR slam dunk that they seem to think it is.”

He concluded that “AT&T clearly likes their public statements the same way that they like their cell signal: hilariously f—ing weak.”

AT&T announced last May it plans to spin HBO’s parent company, WarnerMedia, off to merge with Discovery. The deal is expected to close in the middle of next year.


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