Pay TV giant Sky TV has postponed the UK airing of the latest episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver after it featured an extended speech decrying the Brexit campaign calling for the UK to vote out of the European Union this Thursday. The episode, would normally have aired on Sky’s Sky Atlantic channel, which has an exclusive output deal with HBO. Instead, it will now air on Thursday evening, after polls in the historic vote over whether the UK stays in or out of Europe close.
A Sky rep confirmed the decision had been taken in accordance with regulator Ofcom’s broadcasting restrictions during elections, which call for both sides of opposing arguments to be given equal airtime. Given that Oliver’s monologue was unashamedly one-sided, Sky felt the need to push the broadcast. Sky is 39% owned by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox. Murdoch’s newspaper businesses have been stridently pro-Brexit, with The Sun tabloid leading a vociferous campaign to convince its readers to vote against remaining in the EU on June 23.
Oliver, by contrast, was scathing in his takedown of some of the Brexiteers, calling their campaign “bullshit” and saying the UK was “on the edge of doing something absolutely insane.” He also took a dig at Brexit cheerleader and former London mayor Boris Johnson, comparing him to Bam-Bam (the baby) from The Flintstones.