How Businesses Continued to Profit Off of John Oliver

On HBO, John Oliver hosts his own television series called Last Week Tonight With John Oliver which air Sunday at 8 p.m. PST. In his show, Oliver touches upon some current events that have happened during the week around the world and has a large segment of his show dedicated to a main story. For the purpose of this post, there are two main stories that have occurred in the past ten months that will be focused on: Alex Jones and NRATV.

Oliver gives a portrayal of Alex Jones’s Info Wars and the issues surrounding Jones’s show in July of 2017. Oliver condemns the conspiracies that Jones has spewed on his show and the bigotry that comes from it. However, Oliver pointed out Jones’s infatuation with promoting his viewers to buy InfoWars products to help fund the show and to help keep the production going and if they did not buy products or donate to InfoWars, that essentially they would have to shut down. Jones basically said the money that is poured in from donations and product purchases all go back to keep the show going.

However, as Oliver points out in the show, Jones has had on three different rolex watches and seems to have a life of luxury. The products Jones sells ranges greatly from vitamins and wellness products to outdoor gear and a category called nuclear and biological. These products as Oliver as pointed out, tended to be greatly overpriced and can easily be purchased at a very reduced price at a place such as Walmart or Target. However, Jones uses what seems to be coercive threats to his over six million viewers and listeners, that if they do not fund him, then the truth about government conspiracies will not be exposed.

On March 4, 2018, Oliver aired a main story on NRATV and the shows that appear on it. Oliver goes through the segments in which NRATV has multiple shows going from antique gun collectors to women shooting and testing out guns for the first time. In addition, the NRA aired a commercial where a man holding a large sledgehammer is standing to the right of a television. This television is airing clips coming from liberal stations discussing the issues with guns. At the end of the clip the man, who is wearing a white “Socialist Tear” shirt, swings the sledgehammer and hits the television. But what caught Oliver’s attention from NRATV was their ability to advertise gun accessories and other products. Oliver aired segments from NRATV in which they were selling products like customized magazine clips with your name engraved in them, to gun safes, and even purses where guns could be concealed in places where people would most likely not look. Oliver called it essentially a channel in which it promotes selling America guns.

How did both Info Wars and NRATV respond? InfoWars created an entire package called the “John Oliver Package” which was a combination of Jones’s supplements. While the NRATV twitter page tweeted out, “Get the shirt that made John Oliver cry”. Oliver wanted to bring to the attention the flaws from both of these productions, yet both found a way to profit off of Oliver’s criticisms? Is the fears both Alex Jones and the NRA portray to their subcultures so deep rooted that they are able to profit off of any criticisms?

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