Monday, March 9, 2020

John Oliver's jokes about Donald Duck censored by Disney-owned Indian streaming channel

Posted By on Mon, Mar 9, 2020 at 7:41 PM

  • Screenshot via Last Week Tonight/Twitter
John Oliver, host of HBO's Last Week Tonight, posits that Donald Duck, as a duck, must have a duck penis. Duck penises, in fact, are shaped like a corkscrew, resembling, as Oliver puts it, "a freshly boiled piece of al dente fusilli."

As he made this argument during a segment of his show, an image of Donald Duck with a corkscrew penis was presented in the classic over-the-shoulder news image space on screen.

That image, and Oliver's notions of anatomical Disney animation genitalia, were cut when the episode aired in India.

"I frankly resent that factually accurate joke being cut out," said Oliver in last night's episode. "Almost more than I resent our Modi episode being pulled."

Oliver's staff was alerted that a recent episode critical of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi didn't air in India. After finding this out, and doing a little digging, Oliver found other bits of censorship that specifically had to do with jokes at the expense of Disney IP.

Oliver said he learned of the censorship when viewers of his show in India alerted his staff. As far as Oliver can tell, he said, the Indian government wasn't involved.

Last Week Tonight airs in India on the streaming service Hotstar, which is owned by Disney. The streaming service, apparently, decided to "self-censor," said Oliver.
  • Screenshot via Last Week Tonight/Twitter
Another instance of censorship – which involved the episode being abruptly cut and the camera zooming past images of Disney characters and awkwardly onto Oliver's face – took place during a segment about the census. Hotstar cut out cracks Oliver makes about a 1980s census commercial that featured Mickey in a tuxedo.

"It's 1980, you're in a tuxedo in the middle of the day, and your pupils are the size of personal pan pizzas," said Oliver. "We all know what that means, Mick; you've been baking with booger sugar."

It's not just an accusation Oliver is lobbing, he says, but a hand extended in concern. "What I'm trying to say here is, Mickey Mouse has a really serious cocaine problem. I'm just stating a fact, a Disney Fact."

The reason Oliver can make such declarations, he says, is because he voices the character of Zazu in 2019's live-action The Lion King. As Oliver's pronouncement lands, a stamp of approval that reads "Disney Fact," stamps the image of the suddenly strung-out looking mouse.

"Everything that comes out of this beak is a Disney Fact," he says. "If I say that Cogsworth collects Nazi memorabilia, guess what, that's canon, baby. That's a Disney fucking Fact right there."

And as the arbiter of such facts, Oliver says he will continue to deliver them, "sliding them" into future episodes "like Chip 'n' Dale slid into Richard Gere," which is another Disney Fact, "motherfuckers," says Oliver.

You just can't take for granted educational television these days. HBO is the home of Sesame Street now, y'know.
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