John Oliver Defends Assange: This Story is ‘Worrying For a Number of Reasons’


Add John Oliver to the list of people who are backing — albeit reluctantly — Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

As part of his opening segment on Last Week Tonight Sunday, Oliver stated it’s “easy to dislike Julian Assange for a number of reasons” — which he proceeded to tick off.

“He first fled to the embassy to escape extradition to Sweden on rape charges — charges he denied,” Oliver said. “Alongside the valuable information that WikiLeaks has helped release, they’ve also recklessly published the sensitive personal data of hundreds of ordinary people, potentially putting lives at risk. And that’s not even getting into the fact that WikiLeaks’ publication of hacked emails in 2016 helped elect Trump president.”

But should any of that stand in the way of someone being opposed to Julian Assange’s extradition? No, as far as Oliver is concerned.

“You are allowed not to like him,” Oliver said. “But America’s current attempts to extradite him hang on a specific charge that many press advocates find unsettling.”

The comic, while noting it’s “still early,” called the Assange story “worrying for a number of reasons.”

“One, because journalistic freedoms may be under threat,” He said. And two, unfortunately, in order to protect them, we may be forced to utter the one phrase in the English language scarier than ‘Halloween Brexit,’ and that’s, ‘I’m really sorry, everyone, but it might actually be time to defend Julian Assange.’”

Watch above, via HBO.

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Joe DePaolo is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: Follow him on Twitter: @joe_depaolo