HBO’s John Oliver Downplays Violent Protests in Portland as ‘Mostly Peaceful’

HBO/Eze Amos/Getty Images/AP Photo/Noah Berger
HBO/Eze Amos/Getty Images/AP Photo/Noah Berger

HBO’s Last Week Tonight host John Oliver is the latest TV pundit to deny the widespread violence in Portland, Oregon, insisting on his weekly show on Sunday that the protests have been “mostly peaceful.”

“The protests in Portland have actually been going on daily for nearly two months now, since the killing of George Floyd,” Oliver said. “But the deployment of federal agents was a sharp escalation of questionable legality, and yet, to hear the president tell it, he had no choice and it was a terrific idea.”

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“In Portland, protests have been mostly peaceful there, which is not to say that there haven’t been some isolated chaotic incidents. Although, those situations have not been helped by the fact that the local police force, under the leadership of ted wheeler, incidentally have routinely overreacted using things like tear gas, to the point where wheeler actually became known as tear gas teddy.

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Violent protests have been taking place in the city since the death of George Floyd in late May, with President Donald Trump being forced to send in federal agents to help contain the situation. There’s a flood of video evidence and numerous arrests have been made. Oliver echoing the left-wing narrative that the protests were “mostly peaceful,” adding that “things were not particularly dire in Portland,” cuts against what law enforcement on the ground are reporting.

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White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany showed a round up of the violence and chaos that has engulfed downtown Portland.

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The 43-year-old Brit rounded off by attacking Fox News host Sean Hannity’s coverage of events in Portland, which he correctly characterized as violent. According to Oliver, such coverage is a “huge overstatement” and indicates the “end of America as we know it.”

Oliver declared:

Yeah, it is insane—because that tone does not honestly reflect the conditions on the ground,” shot back Oliver. “That ‘fire-bombing,’ for instance, seems to be a reference to either a firework or a small fire that was set, which is significantly less dramatic than he’s trying to make it sound. And that rolling list next to Hannity’s head is mostly graffiti! In fact, graffiti is listed 12 times in a row there under the headline ‘VIOLENCE IN PORTLAND,’ which is a huge overstatement.

Look, the troubling thing here is: Portland seems to be being used as a staging ground by the president to put on an authoritarian show of force, and this could end very badly—especially as he’s now apparently threatened to use federal force in other cities as well, which is absolutely outrageous.

Last month, Oliver similarly denied evidence of widespread looting and violence at Black Lives Matter protests, arguing that spontaneous protest “can’t control every one of its participants.” He also backed calls by the radical left to defund the police, describing it as an issue of “systematic racism.”

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