Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (2014) s02e02 Episode Script


1 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver S02E02 Tobacco Welcome! Welcome, welcome to "Last Week Tonight.
" I'm John Oliver.
Thank you for being with us.
Just time for a quick recap of this week.
And we begin, we begin tonight in Yemen.
Home to 26 million Yemeni people and 27 million American drones.
For years Yemen has worked closely with the U.
On counter terrorism issues.
Unfortunately, their government collapsed recently.
And this week, things got even worse.
The United States is closing down its embassy in Yemen.
The state department has evacuated dozens of diplomatic officials from its compound in sana while urging all Americans to leave that country immediately.
Yes, if you're an American diplomat in Yemen, evacuate immediately.
And if you're an American tourist in Yemen, what the fuck were you doing taking a vacation in Yemen? Bad choice! A rebel group called the Houthis now appears to be in charge in Yemen.
So who are they? And can we work with them? Frankly, when you speak to them, talk to them.
They're actually quite polite and pleasant oh, lovely?! How lovely! Rebels who are polite and pleasant.
You know, like Drake.
This sounds like it's tremendous news, unless I interrupted you a little too early.
They're actually quite polite and pleasant.
But one of their slogans is "death to America.
" Ok then, ok.
That is completely unacceptable unless of course they're referring to the 1970's soft rock band America in which case I totally support them.
Oh, you've been through a desert on a horse with no name? Did it ever occur to you it's your job to name the horse? That's on you! Call it cinnamon and ride back.
Now, you might notice he said, "one of their" slogans.
And that's because the full slogan reads, "god is great, death to America, death to Israel, curse the Jews, victory to Islam.
" Which is horrifying, but, still slightly less odious than "I'm lovin' it.
" Now also, there is some potentially good news here not only are the Houthis against Al-qaeda, but they may actually be trying to moderate their tone.
I interviewed their leader here a couple of days ago and he was very adamant about trying to have better relations with the U.
He even went so far as to pretty much repudiate their slogan which you know include "death to America" and say that's just a slogan, we don't mean it literally.
Oh, ok then! Ok! I guess at this point the phrase "death to America" has lost all it's meaning.
It's like, "we should really hang out sometime," or "I'm sorry," or "I love you.
" They're just things to say, you know? Moving on to other major news this week.
We saw the worldwide release of "Fifty Shades of Grey.
" It's done surprisingly well, despite the fact that Jamie Dornan is not my Christian.
Hashtag #notmychristian.
The media.
The media has been really excited about this all week.
Which makes sense.
Because who wouldn't be excited to watch scintillating dialogue such as this? That's impressive.
A girl scout? Um, no.
Organized group activities aren't really my thing.
So what is your thing? I don't know.
Books? My penis just yawned.
I will say I will say I will say I will say this movie has actually provided a fascinating glimpse into the attitudes of various countries.
The U.
Gave it their equivalent of an "NC-17" rating, while Malaysia banned it from theaters, calling it "more pornography than movie.
" Although, on the basis of that clip we saw, it's actually more home depot commercial than pornography.
However, there is one country that went in a different direction.
Here in the U.
, "Fifty Shades of Grey" is rated "R", meaning the kids under 17 must be accompanied by an adult.
But the French are giving the green light to kids as young as 12.
Yes, France is allowing 12-year-olds to watch "Fifty Shades of Grey.
" That is maybe the frenchest thing imaginable other than a croissant sitting in a café eating a baguette.
Or maybe a mime feeding invisible cheese to his invisible mistress with a visible erection.
So just.
Very French.
Just just have an interest, for me, what was the reasoning for such a rating? A French official says "Fifty Shades" isn't a film that can shock a lot of people, get this, the decision wasn't unanimous, but that's only because some there thought there shouldn't be any age restriction at all.
Wow! So the implication there is that even 12-year-olds in France will find the movie tame.
"Yes, yes, it was an amusing erotic trifle, I suppose.
" "The love making was passable but, belt play is a little pedestrian, don't you think?" N'est-ce pas? Finally finally this week, a little update on Ecuador.
You may remember last week, we poked fun at their president, Rafael Correa who'd been calling out his Twitter and Facebook critics by name, and encouraging supporters to attack them online.
Well, it turns out, he saw what we did, and was not thrilled.
And the reason I know this is and this is true, the president of Ecuador has been shit-talking me on Twitter all week long, saying and this is true.
Among other things, he has said "these gringo talk shows are as unpleasant as a diuretic.
" And, "do British comedians exist? Are you all sure about this?" And, hey ha-ha, he's right.
British comedian is an oxymoron.
Much like "jumbo shrimp" or "Ecuadorian president who prioritizes his time wisely.
" But it actually gets worse.
Just yesterday, Correa gave his weekly televised address to the nation, and he was still annoyed about this.
With international backing, there is a funny campaign that says that we are against humor because now they will show you some twitters that we want to stop.
Imagine that.
Me against humor? But my jokes are known worldwide! Let me stop you there that's almost true.
But it's not so much that your jokes are known worldwide.
As that you are increasingly becoming known worldwide as a joke.
That's the That's the thing.
That's the But look, I'd stop this I'd stop making fun of Correa's oversensitivity, were it not for the fact he has a history of stifling dissent in Ecuador.
He's clamped down on journalists in both ways large and small, from suing a newspaper that said he was acting like a dictator, to humiliating a young female reporter who asked him a tough question, calling her a "horrible fatty".
And "fatty" is one of the least presidential words imaginable.
It's right up there with "awesome sauce" and "finger blast.
" You just you don't want to hear that from a world leader.
There is one thing, however, I would like to correct from last week.
You may remember, I showed a clip of this clown during Correa's speech.
Well, it turned out that was actually no random clown.
That was Tiko-Tiko, a beloved children's entertainer.
Tiko-tiko was upset and called me "grotesque.
" And when a clown calls you "grotesque", it hurts.
So, I will apologize to Tiko-Tiko, and I'll tell you why.
Because I do not want this man angry with me.
That is what is playing in the background when a psychopath ties you up in a basement and tortures you with dental instruments.
I'm sorry, Tiko-Tiko.
Please don't make me saw my leg off to escape you.
And now, this.
And now, "Last Week Tonight" asks: "How is this still a thing?" This week, the "sports illustrated" swimsuit issue.
How is this still a thing? "Sports illustrated," the preferred magazines of dads and the crappers since 1954, highlighting great moments in sport, from the miracle on ice to that one time Vince Lombardi got punched in the balls by the Green Bay Packers.
And every February S.
Released its most popular annual issue to a creepy chorus of approval.
All right, check it out, Mike Jerrick, look at the screen.
Yes! Ew! The swimsuit issue is coming out next Tuesday on newsstands.
It is a great, great magazine.
Ew! And it's even worse when the models are in the studio.
Will you be my Valentine? I definitely want the chocolate but there's a little bit of a waiting list.
Thank you so much.
Courtney, I love you, baby.
Courtney is Darren wife, she is expecting her first child any moment now.
The swimsuit edition was created by editor André Laguerre in 1964 to boost sales between sports seasons and it was a perfect expression of the 1960's, a time of such rampant casual sexism that it eventually gave birth to the sexual harassment in the workplace film.
Hey have you two chicks wanna get knocked up John and I glad to help you but as society moved on the swimsuit issue not only hang around it became the magazine's key selling point.
- You get basketball, football, tennis - And? And the famous swimsuit issue! Revealing 1991 swimsuit issue and the free sneaker phone.
- The swimsuit issue.
- That's the icing on the cake.
Ew! And the swimsuit issue is still moving copies it sold more than 800,000 copies on Newsstands in 2013, reportedly more than 10 times what a regular issue of "sports illustrated" sold.
Which raises the question: "Why?" Sure, at one point it was tantalizing to receive a once-annual printed magazine of scanltly clad women.
But do people not understand they can now just type naked ladies into the Internet? And see what Google throw at them? Even S.
I seems to know it loses relevance.
Which maybe why every year like clockwork they provoke an attention grabbing controversy whether it's using other countries' citizens as props.
Some are calling them at best culturally insensitive.
Objectify women with an actual object.
Barbie, yes Barbie is on the cover of the swim suit issue and as you can imagine, there is outrage.
Or this year baiting the media with this bullshit.
Some are questioning whatever the cover is too nude is it too risky? When the line goes this far, what's left? The vagina.
The vagina is what's left in one of these years in an act of desperation.
Will probably put one on the cover.
And until that time, it's left to the rest of us to ask ourselves: The sports illustrated swimsuit issue.
How is this still a thing? Moving on.
Moving on.
Our main story tonight is tobacco.
It used to be a cornerstone of American life.
It was how we knew sex was over before the female orgasm was invented.
Even if you didn't smoke, you couldn't escape those who did.
Cigarettes were in the hands of trusted newsmen, beloved cartoon characters, and cowboys in TV commercials.
You've had your supper and coffee.
The horses are settling down.
You settle back.
You start to think about Saturday night in town.
Come to where the flavor is.
Come to Marlboro country.
That of course, is the iconic Marlboro man.
As synonymous with ruggedness and freedom as he was with dying from smoking-related diseases.
Because, and this is true that's what happened to at least four of the actors who played him.
Four dead actors! It's like if there was a gas leak on "whose line is it anyway?" Why did you have to pass the dish to each other? Why? Look, you can admit it, it is weird seeing those cigarette ads now and that's because, for the past half-century, America has steadily limited how tobacco companies are able to behave.
We've put warning labels on packaging and banned cigarette ads from TV, all while tobacco executives defended themselves against hard public health questions.
It's true the babies born from women who smoke are smaller, but they're just as healthy as babies born from women who do not smoke.
And some women would prefer having smaller babies.
Yeah, oh, you heard it, pregnant ladies.
Enough cigarettes, and you're pretty much shooting out Lego babies.
They fit in "Star Wars" toys! Who wouldn't want that? That's adorable! By the late 1990's, the regulations were such that tobacco companies here voluntarily retired not just the Marlboro man, but also Joe Camel, who people had ridiculously accused of being targeted at children just because he was an adorable cartoon camel who dressed like the Fonz and smoked.
All these restrictions helped lower smoking rates in the U.
from about 43% in 1965 to 18% today which you would assume would decimate the American tobacco industry.
Which is what makes this clip from 2008 so surprising.
Tobacco is what you might call smoking hot.
Is this the best time ever to be a tobacco farmer? Probably the most profitable.
Wow, it's an aging product that's decreasing in popularity, and yet somehow, it just can't stop making money.
It's basically the agricultural equivalent of U2.
Now, now one of the reasons, one of the reasons for this might be that while Americans are smoking less, in some parts of the world, people are smoking more, to an occasionally shocking extent.
You might remember this viral video.
A video of this 2-year-old boy he's just puffing away on a cigarette in Indonesia and it's gone completely viral.
The mom says he is completely addicted and if he doesn't get the smokes, he gets angry he'll start banging his head on the wall.
Yeah, of course he gets mad when you take away his smokes.
He thinks they're gone.
He doesn't have object permanence yet! The smoking baby was such a media sensation, news crews from across the world attempted to find him.
Just across this bridge lies the small fishing village that is home to the smoking baby.
We briefly caught up with Aldi and his mother Diana at the airport flanked by a local TV crew.
Are you Aldi? Hi, I'm Dan.
How you doing, little dude? Holy shit, just look at that kid.
He's his own rat pack.
All he's missing is three other kids dressed like him and a casino.
And and this is where this story gets really interesting.
Because that baby's favorite brand of cigarettes was "A Mild," which is owned by Philip Morris International, the company that sells Philip Morris brands everywhere but America.
They, like other multinational companies, have flocked to Indonesia, a market where 2/3 of adult males smoke, and there are very few restrictions.
And I do mean very few.
This really brings home the point.
This is the entrance to a school, and come with me.
Just a few steps away from the entrance, there is this kiosk that is sponsored by Marlboro light.
And at this kiosk, a student can come and buy an individual cigarette.
They're only a dime a piece, and they even have a lighter on a string.
Well, of course the lighter's on a string! What kind of irresponsible cigarette vendor outside a school would let a child walk away with a lighter? They're dangerous.
Think about it! Just think about that! And look, Indonesia is far from the only country where Philip Morris International, or P.
has expanded.
They own seven of the world's top 15 international brands, including Marlboro.
And recently, Marlboro has boosted its global market share, thanks to its worldwide: "Don't be a maybe, be Marlboro" campaign.
And if you're thinking, what the fuck does "don't be a maybe" mean?, please let this video by the people responsible for the campaign explain it to you.
As a brand, Marlboro was not resonating with adult smokers, even though its values of freedom, authenticity, and master of destiny were.
Smokers missed the essence of the cowboy, which led us to our opportunity.
Eliminate the word "maybe" from our smokers vocabulary, to become the catalyst that inspires smokers from just thinking about life to taking the lead in their life.
To live the Marlboro values.
To be true, bold, and forever forward.
That is a pile of horseshit.
Think about it.
Just think about this.
Even Don Draper looks at that ad and goes: "Pull it back a little bit these are cigarettes we're talking about, not Jesus.
" Now, countries can try to counteract the influence of that kind of marketing.
But if tobacco companies feel too threatened, they 'll put them through legal hell.
Let me take you on a world tour.
Of how they attack laws intended to protect public health, because it's kind of amazing.
Let's start in Australia.
In 2011, they passed a "plain packaging" law.
And what that means is this.
Cigarettes come in packaging like this.
Pretty drab coloring.
Messaging the Australian government writes, pictures it chooses, the brand name they really relegated to the bottom.
Australia's plain packaging law banned tobacco-company branding from packaging, and replaced it with upsetting photos.
Such as the toe tag on a corpse,the cancerous mouth, the nightmarish eyeball, or the diseased lung.
Now, ye-yes, I'm pretty sure I would find a healthy lung disgusting.
But, but that thing does look like you're trying to breathe through baked ziti.
So just take it down, just take it down perhaps unsurprisingly, since this law was implemented, the total consumption of tobacco and cigarettes in Australia fell to record lows.
And nightmares about eyeballs have risen to record highs.
Take it down! Take down the demon eye! To get these laws, though, Australia has had to run a gauntlet of lawsuits.
First, two tobacco companies sued Australia in its highest court to stop them.
The result was a little surprising, as Australia's Attorney General let everyone know.
I'm delighted to be able to say that we have won that legal action, and just as some icing on the cake, it seems that the big tobacco companies will also be required to pay the government's costs.
Yes! Score one, score one for the little guy.
Even if that little guy is the sixth largest country in the world in terms of land mass.
And the tobacco companies didn't just lose.
The judges called their case "delusive," "unreal" and "synthetic", and said they had "fatal defects".
Which sounds a little like the early reviews of NBC "The Slap.
" What is this thing? How long am I supposed to watch it for? Which one is the slap? But Australia's legal troubles were just beginning.
Because then Philip Morris Asia got involved.
The company is threatening to take the Australian government to an international court and says that removing brands from cigarette packs will lower the value of its trademark and intellectual property.
That's right a company was able to sue a country over a public health measure, through an international court.
How the fuck is that possible? Well it's really a simple explanation.
They did it by digging up a 1993 trade agreement between Australia and Hong Kong, which had a provision that Australia couldn't seize Hong Kong-based companies' property.
So nine months before the lawsuit started, P.
Put its Australian business in the hands of its Hong Kong-based Philip Morris Asia division.
And then they sued, claiming that the seized "property" in question were the trademarks on their cigarette packages.
And you've gotta give it to them, that is impressive.
Someone should really give those lawyers a pat on the back.
And a punch in the face.
But, a pat on the back first.
Pat then punch.
They need a pat-punch.
Little pat, big punch, that's what they need.
But wait, there's more here.
Because you'll never guess who else is coming after Australia.
Three governments, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and Ukraine have filed complaints with the world trade organization against Australia's plain packaging laws.
That's right Ukraine is charging Australia with hurting its tobacco exports.
Something which was a bit of a surprise to a Ukrainian member of parliament.
When I first read about the position of the government, it seems to me a joke, because we have a zero trade exchange between Australia and Ukraine of any tobacco goods.
Zero trade! Zero! So Ukraine is inserting themselves into something they have nothing to do with.
They're taking the Kanye west approach to international trade disputes.
They just just wiggling in there.
The truth is as you probably guessed by now tobacco companies have encouraged these suits, even covering some of the legal costs.
Meaning the tobacco industry is treating Ukraine like a stage parent treats a child in a beauty pageant.
"No, Brandy wants to do it! Yes, I paid for her outfit and pushed her on the stage, but this was all her idea.
And I swear to god, Brandy, if you drop that flaming baton, you are fucking walking home.
" You walk home, Brandy! And tobacco companies aren't just going after big countries like Australia.
Philip Morris has also launched a legal challenge against the small south American country of Uruguay for damaging its business prospects.
Uruguay has a population of just 3.
5 million people and is a relatively tiny cigarette market.
That's right Philip Morris International is currently suing Uruguay.
A country you think about so little that you didn't even notice that that's not Uruguay.
This is Uruguay.
The background here, nine years ago, Uruguay started introducing increasingly larger health warnings.
Smoking rates dropped and Uruguayans liked the laws, with 68% of smokers saying they should be stronger.
But just because they wanted it hasn't stopped P.
From suing them for the past five years.
And that's a lot for a small country to take on.
Luckily, they've had help.
Uruguay has received the support of the world health organization and the pan American health organization, as well as the mayor of New York city, Michael Bloomberg, who donated $500,000 for payment of attorneys' fees.
The legal fees were getting so expensive they had to take money from Michael Bloomberg.
On the scale of how shitty that's got to feel, it's just barely higher than borrowing money from your ex-girlfriend's, current boyfriend's stepdad.
And if forcing Uruguay to do that was not bad enough, let me tell you what Philip Morris International has done to Togo.
Togo is one of the 10 poorest countries on earth.
And they recently unveiled some new tobacco laws.
Togo is setting conditions on the sale of tobacco.
Starting on September 1, 2014, packs of cigarettes sold in Togo must bear warnings in French, Ewé and kabyè about the health risks associated with the consumption of tobacco.
Now, at first, written warnings sound great.
Until you learn that 40% of the adult population of Togo is illiterate.
Which is why some members of the Togolese government wanted something more like Australia's "ziti lung" packaging.
Take it down.
Take it down.
It's still disgusting.
But when they got wind of this, Philip Morris International a company with annual net revenues of $80 billion basically threatened to sue Togo, whose entire G.
Is $4.
3 billion.
And when your G.
Is only a couple of billion more than the box office of "avatar," a protracted legal case is not really what you need.
We actually reached out to Togo and asked to see their correspondence with the tobacco companies, and they gave us this letter from P.
We had to translate it from French, but it was worth it.
Because this thing is almost comically appalling.
It informs Togo that plain packaging laws would result in "an incalculable amount of international trade litigation," suggesting Togo would lose any legal challenge by citing, among other things, an Australian high court decision which they write "concluded that plain packaging constitutes a substantial privation of property rights.
" Now, the court case they're referring to is the one from earlier.
You remember the one tobacco companies lost so badly they had to cover the court costs.
And yet.
They quote the one judge in that case who ruled in favor of tobacco ignoring the other six who called their case, if you'll remember, "delusive","unreal" and "synthetic", and saying it had "fatal defects".
That's like when a shitty movie engineers a good review out of a bad one.
Like "Mortdecai is a pile of dot-dot-dot great.
" This letter is bullshit! And yet Togo, justifiably terrified by threats of billion-dollar settlements, backed down from a public health law that many people wanted.
And it's not just Togo.
British American tobacco sent a similar letter to Namibia.
And one of their subsidiaries sent one to the Solomon Islands, a country with a population of 600,000.
At this point, it's safe to say, if you live in an apartment with at least two other people and you ask one of them to please smoke outside, you can look forward to a letter from a tobacco company, very soon and look I could get angry and I could call tobacco companies assholes, or monsters, or open sores on Satan's dick, but instead, instead, instead let's rise above it and let's try and broker peace.
Because it's clear what each side wants: Countries want to warn their citizens about the health dangers of smoking tobacco.
Tobacco companies want to be able to present branded images they've spent time and money to cultivate.
So may I suggest a compromise? I present to you the new face of Marlboro Jeff, the diseased lung in a cowboy hat.
We are offering Jeff to you, Philip Morris International, to use as you wish.
Put him on your billboards.
Put him on some ads.
In fact, and don't be mad we've already started doing that for you.
This is an actual billboard that we've put up in Uruguay of Jeff, the diseased lung.
That is in Montevideo right now.
And people seem to like it there! Of course they like it.
Of course they like it.
Everyone loves Jeff the diseased lung in a cowboy hat! Oh, one more thing.
To be completely honest, we didn't just do it in Uruguay.
Because we also, and don't be mad we made some Jeff-branded t-shirts and we shipped them to Togo yesterday, where they've been quite a hit.
And if you don't believe me, check this out.
Marlboro, Jeff's already out there! You just need to claim him.
Our lawyers, unlike yours will not sue.
And I know our viewers would love to help you get the message out there.
In fact you can tweet about Jeff using the Hashtag #jeffwecan to get him trending worldwide and get P.
'S attention.
Post Jeff's photo on Google Plus and tag him "Marlboro,".
Which might push him to the top of Marlboro's Google image search.
We can do this, everyone! Don't be a maybe about this.
In fact.
In fact, who here would like to meet Jeff? Let's bring Jeff out! Come on out here, Jeff! It's Jeff! It's Jeff, everyone! It's Jeff the diseased lung, look at him, Marlboro he's not a maybe! He's not a maybe because he's definitely suffering from emphysema.
Aren't you, Jeff? Classic Jeff! And guess what, P.
? Even thought and I can not stress it enough you do not market to children kids love Jeff too! Don't you, kids? What do you say, Marlboro? Let's make Jeff happen! That's our show.
See you next week.
Good night! Jeff, Jeff, Jeff, Jeff!
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