Snippets from John Oliver’s searing criticism of Modi in the latest episode of Last Week Tonight have been all over the internet the last two days. However, it remains conspicuously absent from Hotstar, where each week’s episode usually drops every Tuesday at 6 am IST.
Except the streaming service is still sitting tight on the 16 February 2020 episode, Medicare for All, with no sign yet of the latest one.
Released on HBO (and YouTube) a day before Trump’s visit to India, Oliver highlights the bizarre dynamic that Modi and Trump share, and rips into Modi for being a divisive leader who is “Marie Kondo’ing India, and only Muslims don’t spark joy”. Context is set by acknowledging his personal appeal – from his background to what he’s promised the Indian people, escalating quickly to the disaster that was demonisation, the steady persecution of religious minorities and breaking down the NRC and CAA to explain why Indians are protesting on the streets. Oliver wastes no time in calling it out: “a diabolically clever two-step way” to “strip millions of Muslims of citizenship”.
He also breaks down Modi’s personal appeal, likening his charisma (which allows him to “somehow evade public anger sticking to him”) to a “very dangerous superpower”. Especially when you consider that he is a Hindu nationalist, Oliver summarises succinctly, reminding audiences of the 2002 riots: “Modi oversaw all of this as head of state”.
Since this news broke, Android users are leaving 1-star reviews for the Hotstar app, Gadgets 360 reports. These reviews directly mention the keywords ‘John Oliver’, ‘PM Modi’, ‘Last Week Tonight’, and ‘censorship’. However, Hotstar continues to ignore these; their support team has only responded to reviews addressing technical issues or those pertaining to subscription queries, turning a blind eye to the rest.
Despite requests for comments, Hotstar has not issued any kind of statement or clarification on the matter yet. DeadAnt has also reached out to the platform, a response is awaited.
Closing statements? From the award-winning news talk show host himself: