Daily Show presenter John Oliver: Filming in Australia put me in one of the world’s most comfortably racist places

john oliver australiaThe man who is about to become the host of one of the world’s most talked about current affairs shows has labelled Australia as among “the most comfortably racist places” he has ever visited after his experiences filming here over the last few days.

John Oliver, who has just spent several days in Australia filming for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show made the accusation in a podcast.

He flagged up racism towards people of Lebanese origin he said he heard during his visit to places including Sydney, Wagga Wagga and Wodonga.

john stewart john oliverOliver, a member of The Daily Show’s news team since 2006, will become its presenter from June 4 while regular host Jon Stewart directs a film. In Australia, The Daily Show is broadcast on Foxtel on The Comedy Channel.

Speaking in his Bugle podcast, uploaded yesterday, Oliver described Australia as “a coastal paradise surrounding a rocky hell”. He said: “Australia turns out to be a sensational place, albeit one of the most comfortably racist places I’ve ever been in. They’ve really settled into their intolerance like an old resentful slipper.

“You can say what you like about Australian racism, it is undeniably specific. I had a couple of Australians – more than one – complain to me about all the ‘Lebbos’ in the country, referring apparently to the Lebanese. Who the fuck is annoyed by Lebanese people?

“In a way you have to admire the attention to detail. Not just all those Arabs, but the Lebanese. That’s like saying ‘You know who I can’t stand? Sri Lankans. Malaysians not a problem.Bangladeshis, lovely people, but Sri Lankans – I’ve got no time for them, Jose.’

Comments begin at 1:35:

“How many Lebanese people can there actually be in Australia? There’s only just over four million of these people in fucking Lebanon.

“The one thing Australia cannot argue is: there’s no room here in this country because that land is fucking gigantic. That aside, fantastic place, can’t wait to go back.”

He also interviewed former PM John Howard. Oliver said Howard found it “An experience he didn’t seem to enjoy to his maximum capacity”.


  1. Wayne
    16 Apr 13
    9:13 am

  2. What’s racism? Pedalling generic and derogatory statements about a race. Sure, there is some entrenched racism in Australia but to suggest all Australians are racist is generic, derogatory and plain wrong.

  3. DS
    16 Apr 13
    9:20 am

  4. Let me guess, American comes in, interviews a pack of right wing dickheads and we’re all tarred with the same brush. ***YAWN*** It’s like me going to the deep south, interviewing a couple of ‘good old boys’ and saying all Americans hate black people. It’s a nonsense.

  5. Encyclic!
    16 Apr 13
    9:22 am

  6. Yup, sounds about right.

  7. Che
    16 Apr 13
    9:25 am

  8. Glad there’s a Bugle fan in the Mumbrella office. For those who aren’t listeners of the podcast, it’s a absurdist satirical “audio newspaper”. I’d be very careful writing articles about anything heard on the Bugle.

    Their latest episode, ‘Maggie’s F-ck Youlogy’ is particularly good.

  9. AK
    16 Apr 13
    9:26 am

  10. Hook line and sinker…

    This guy has appeared many times on the Daily Show to talk about Australia and racism is a regular theme… It’s just a punch line for him.

    Not saying there isn’t entrenched racism here, there is. But look to the UK and the US and you’ll see a LOT more.

  11. Che
    16 Apr 13
    9:26 am

  12. He’s British, by the way. You can tell by the very strong accent he has in that audio.

  13. Von
    16 Apr 13
    9:30 am

  14. Whow! He has a lot to learn especially about his own racism!

  15. gordo
    16 Apr 13
    9:32 am

  16. For the record, John Oliver is English.

    For some reason, the whole ‘Black Face’ sketch on the Hey Hey it’s Saturday re-union comes to mind. Oh no, we’re not racist, we’re just not politically correct.

    Yeah… except the rest of the world calls that racist.

  17. Caitlin
    16 Apr 13
    9:34 am

  18. He doesn’t say all Australians are racist, he says that Australia is a racist place. Sadly it’s true. It only takes a few racist people who feel comfortable enough to express their racism publicly in order for the place itself to feel racist. It doesn’t mean that everyone has to be racist.

    According to Wikipedia, there are 182,000 people with Lebanese ancestry in Australia, mostly in Sydney. People with Lebanese ancestry make up 2.3% of the population in Sydney but significantly more in certain areas of Sydney. I don’t have a problem with this.

  19. Clairebbbear
    16 Apr 13
    9:36 am

  20. Er DS, John Oliver is British.

  21. Drew
    16 Apr 13
    9:37 am

  22. That would be fair enough, if he wasn’t English. You’re right though, broad assumptions are the worst.

  23. Kick Knave
    16 Apr 13
    9:38 am

  24. I get it… It’s the Daily Show… It’s meant to be ironic (generalises about Australians generalising). However, if it is meant to be serious it’s dangerously reductionist in its analysis (perhaps its payback for the Chaser making Americans look like idiots via vox pops). Racism is upsetting, but so is middle class tut-tutting of working class prejudice. I usually find whatever prejudice the working class vocalise, the mddle class and upper class have institutionalised.

  25. Matt
    16 Apr 13
    9:44 am

  26. So he’s a satirist. He’s not literally saying all Australians are racist. He’s making a joke. Chill out.

  27. Brimstone
    16 Apr 13
    9:51 am

  28. This is a scandal! Why did John Oliver come to Australia and not do any shows?

    He’s right about the racism.

  29. mal
    16 Apr 13
    9:55 am

  30. So a ‘foreigner” has the check to label us as racist in a satirical way, and “we” (the righteous anglo-saxon inheritors of this land) leap to the barricades.

    As a nation we are casually racist. . . as a generalisation. It’s not a personal attack on every Australian, just something we need to change.

    Maybe when we integrate all those lebos we might move on a bit though

  31. Sudds McDuff
    16 Apr 13
    10:00 am

  32. Have a sense of humour people.

    Besides you don’t have to go that far to find some racist moron in this country, it’s more funny than it is offensive because there’s truth to it.

  33. Billy C
    16 Apr 13
    10:14 am

  34. He’s right. Those of us who are racists do seem quite comfortable. Not shouty angry racists but more relaxed people who seem surprised when people are offended. I rarely come across racist people because I’m an over educated inner city twat but while I’m not suggesting all country or outer suburban people are racist you’re probably going to find a few more vocal racists in areas which are less culturally diverse. This article should have a headline that says “comedian tells joke”.

  35. Bryce Hawleu
    16 Apr 13
    10:14 am

  36. Did he just call us “resentful slippers”?!! I would have thought we were more like indignant ugg boots.

  37. Brimstone
    16 Apr 13
    10:15 am

  38. This is an outrage! Why didn’t you mention his hilarious bits in Community!

  39. Karen
    16 Apr 13
    10:21 am

  40. Satirical Parody…… working on behalf of John Stewart. Laughable. Beauty Mate.

  41. The Cantankerist
    16 Apr 13
    10:23 am

  42. Exactly. Puts me in mind of the response to the Simpsons Australia episode. “How dare they???” Um, because it’s a satirical show? Or did you think every observation they made about America was totally accurate and not exaggerated or generalised in any way?

    Seriously. The thinnest skins around. And the little jabs still wouldn’t hurt if there was no truth in them.

  43. phil
    16 Apr 13
    10:25 am

  44. For those saying the John Oliver is British, he isn’t.
    He was… but as he has claimed many times on the Daily Show, he is now an American citizen.
    Accent yes, nationality no.

  45. AdGrunt
    16 Apr 13
    10:27 am

  46. Micks, Spicks, Poms, Frogs, Krauts, Pakis, Dagos, Wogs, Blackfellas, Strines, Lebs, and my all time favourite – Septics.

    All words. It’s the context and malice that turn them from a term of endearment to a term of prejudice. It can be hard for an outsider to understand that duality of a phrase when coming from the US where words are arbitrarily proscribed.

    Personally, I find laboured politically correct terms infinitely offensive.

  47. DTM
    16 Apr 13
    10:28 am

  48. He is one of the funniest ppl on TV, apart from John Stewart. Chill out ppl and man up!

  49. Richard Moss
    16 Apr 13
    10:31 am

  50. “Any publicity is good publicity as long as they…………………….. Oh, by the way, just check, did they spell his name right?

  51. Zoe
    16 Apr 13
    10:33 am

  52. Brimstone I’m with you, where were the shows? I can’t believe he came all the way over here and didn’t do anything live

    Also, if you’ve never seen an episode of The Daily Show (which some of you obviously haven’t based on comments) so yourself a favour and start watching it. Stewart, Oliver and the rest of the “correspondents” are hilarious and when Stewart gets going on a rant they can be priceless

  53. Bruno Watt
    16 Apr 13
    10:34 am

  54. Watch an episode of the daily show or two or perhaps watch some of John’s bits, he satirises (among other less relevent topics) the media and their kneejerkish, research-less reactions. Much like this one.

    For the record John is an American citizen. Looking forward to him sitting in for Stewart again.

  55. Culturalist
    16 Apr 13
    10:35 am

  56. I am not racist-I am culturalist. I don’t care what the colour of you skin is, but I do take issue with coming to our country and not intergrating, not speaking english and forming little “homelands” in our suburbs that gradually push out the original inhabitants.

  57. Mike
    16 Apr 13
    10:41 am

  58. Quote from the Podcast:

    “In some of the most ludicrously named places I’ve ever set foot in, places like Wagga Wagga and Wodonga. C’mon Andy, those aren’t town names, they are just funny funny noises”.

    Is this not also casually racists against aboriginal people? Calling their language “a bunch of funny noises” A bit like me going to Vietnam and saying all the places sound like throwing a tin can on the roof”.

    When listening to it, it is also clear he is taking the piss. When you read initially on the page it kind of makes you think he is being a lot more serious then he is.

  59. Alan
    16 Apr 13
    11:00 am

  60. Hey “Culturalist”, your jokes aren’t funny.

  61. Ron
    16 Apr 13
    11:01 am

  62. Lets be honest White people have been the number one racists for the last 500 years. They think they have the right to go anywhere and do what ever they like. They don’t assimilate. And they try to impose their alien laws and religion on everyone.

  63. Nick
    16 Apr 13
    11:05 am

  64. Australia is very racist. you’re a fool to think otherwise. it’s a sad fact that we need to acknowledge, as only then will we be able to change

  65. Brimstone
    16 Apr 13
    11:11 am

  66. “Micks, Spicks, Poms, Frogs, Krauts, Pakis, Dagos, Wogs, Blackfellas, Strines, Lebs, and my all time favourite – Septics.

    All words. It’s the context and malice that turn them from a term of endearment to a term of prejudice. It can be hard for an outsider to understand that duality of a phrase when coming from the US where words are arbitrarily proscribed.”

    All those terms are racist. How can you even defend them?

  67. gallah
    16 Apr 13
    11:42 am

  68. Yes, let’s reframe comedy as serious talk. What an excellent idea for a piece! Brilliant!

    Just another journalist trying to make a fuss about nothing.

  69. Ordinary People
    16 Apr 13
    11:52 am

  70. hmmm… never heard of John Oliver before and I suspect never will after this either – when I look at his photo is appearance does not strike me exactly as he could survive the natural selection in places any more challenging than a private school somewhere in a calm English countryside…
    Now John – could you perhaps consider our opinion of you a satire?

  71. DP
    16 Apr 13
    12:07 pm

  72. All these people calling Australia racist… Have you ever travelled to parts of Asia – Malaysia in particular – or the Middle East or Eastern Europe? We look like Mother Theresa in comparison to those places… And where is the racism in this country? In the whitebread regional areas where the only foreigner they ever get to see owns the Chinese restaurant in the RSL….

  73. Andrew
    16 Apr 13
    12:13 pm

  74. Like great comedy, it comes from a basic truth.
    If you don’t find it funny, pull your head out of the sand and knock the chip off your shoulder. Racism exists in most countries, we’re no exception. Get over it.

  75. Chris p
    16 Apr 13
    12:14 pm

  76. Fair enough at Least Australia is honest, the only thing worse is people who don’t say what they feel for being labeled racist.

    What good has multiculturalism brought to the UK ? the London bombings,London riots the EDL ?

  77. paul
    16 Apr 13
    12:17 pm

  78. Reminds me of the great Late show skit by Santo Cilauro…holding up a mirror to multicultural society


  79. Jerry S
    16 Apr 13
    12:20 pm

  80. I don’t think anyone should get their back up about this. It’s one of the funniest and most insightful podcasts going around. Listen to an episode or two, appreciate the way they tear apart every country (including their own) and you might find this ‘slander’ easier to swallow.

    The Belgian Waffles episode is probably the best remedy for outrage.

  81. Jerry S
    16 Apr 13
    12:24 pm

  82. Oh, and Ordinary People, maybe judging someone for the way they look isn’t what you should be doing on a string defending Australians against accusations of racism,

  83. David
    16 Apr 13
    12:26 pm

  84. The Daily Show is satire, that’s satire…that’s a problem for many Australians they don’t know the meaning of the word and are too damn lazy to look it up.

  85. Resident
    16 Apr 13
    12:29 pm

  86. @Culturalist “I don’t care what the colour of you skin is, but I do take issue with coming to our country and not intergrating, not speaking english and forming little “homelands” in our suburbs that gradually push out the original inhabitants.”

    Original inhabitants? The original ones spoke in Aboriginal tongue not English.

  87. zeffd
    16 Apr 13
    12:40 pm

  88. What racism indeedy! I barely hear any within the mostly white, upper middle class media circles I run with. Certainly not in the eastern suburbs. Mind you… not a lot of races there though come to think of it.

    Oh there is that one unwritten law of commercial tv where you don’t broadcast shows about blacks or asians – unless they make you laugh. Seriously, I once worked for one of the networks and we had a episode of a highly rating prime time US show that was dropped from the schedule after it’s story line was deemed ‘too black to promote well’

    Anyway the rest of Australia is about 5 clicks from the CBD if anyone is interested

  89. James
    16 Apr 13
    12:41 pm

  90. Not one person stops to ask why it is only the Lebanese that have a bad reputation here in Sydney and why most people don’t have a problem with all of the other communities Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian, Greek, etc. Ignorance from the armchair commentators who are quick to jump to conclusions of racism without knowing what really lies beneath the tip of the iceberg.

  91. Tony Bee
    16 Apr 13
    12:52 pm

  92. Anyone here who is offended by Oliver’s comments clearly hasn’t seen The Daily Show. The show uses irony and satire to explore uncomfortable truths.

  93. Janelle
    16 Apr 13
    12:53 pm

  94. A little far fetched for creative licence. If you were to sit in front of Twitter today, you would see that racism is a worldwide epidemic, not just in Australia.

  95. Vacy
    16 Apr 13
    12:55 pm

  96. Australia’s racist treatment of asylum seekers, racist Northern Territory Intervention apartheid policies against our First peoples, its racist Islamophobia..Nah, its not racist.

  97. Brimstone
    16 Apr 13
    1:09 pm

  98. “hmmm… never heard of John Oliver before and I suspect never will after this either – when I look at his photo is appearance does not strike me exactly as he could survive the natural selection in places any more challenging than a private school somewhere in a calm English countryside…
    Now John – could you perhaps consider our opinion of you a satire?”

    So anyone who disagrees with you should be beat up? Australia sounds awesome.

  99. Russell Emmerson
    16 Apr 13
    1:13 pm

  100. It’s comedy, stretched to entertain. Did anyone ask him about Belgium? Great waffles. America? Jet skis. England? Empire. All have a kernel of truth. It’s just that it’s funnier.

    And yes, Bugle fan.

    So, for the record, F#@K YOU, CHRIS!

  101. Hummus Lover
    16 Apr 13
    1:15 pm

  102. We should take a stand against racism by taking the ‘os’ out of Lebbos and adding the far more affectionate, all-Australian suffix: ‘ie’.

    We have ‘veggies’, ‘Chrissy’, ‘vegie’, ‘Chaddy’, ‘pressies’…Bring on the ‘Lebbies’ I say.

    Kind of has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

  103. Billo
    16 Apr 13
    1:16 pm

  104. Wow… just reading these comments, we’re so thin skinned. Get over it folks.

  105. Lebbo
    16 Apr 13
    1:16 pm

  106. The hallmark of great satire is that it’s based upon a deep seeded truth.

  107. Anonymous
    16 Apr 13
    1:23 pm

  108. So ‘Culturalist’ doesn’t like it when people come to this country, don’t speak the prevailing language, form new ‘homelands’ and gradually push out the “original” inhabitabts. What a delicious irony.

  109. Montague Tigg
    16 Apr 13
    1:25 pm

  110. This whole message trail reminds of a man I met in Ireland who told me that the nuns whom he worked for as a driver would tell him, “Paddy, you’re an alcoholic, you’ve got to stop drinking,” but he would just tell them, “Nah, I’m not. An alcoholic is someone who beats his wife, and I live with my mum, and I don’t beat her, so I know I’m okay.”

  111. Paris
    16 Apr 13
    1:26 pm

  112. Australia is pretty racist. As are most places (I’ve met plenty of non-Europeans who hated me for being white) but lately I’ve found that friends just assume “you’re down” with racism.

    I might (or might not) agree with what they are saying but I don’t think I would ever verbalise it the way a lot of people seem to – thats just not acceptable! Is it?

  113. Grumnut
    16 Apr 13
    1:39 pm

  114. Culturalist ,

    “that gradually push out the original inhabitants”.

    Good for you for sticking up for the Aboriginals.

    When roaming mobs of Eritreans settle on their traditional homelands, you can understand their concern.

  115. Tonki
    16 Apr 13
    1:53 pm

  116. I don’t think it matters if comments a genralised, or not on the dot. If serveral people come to a country and leave thinking it’s racist or other countries view us a racist, it doesn’t matter if these views are generalised or skewed it’s still an issue that we have to pay attention to. International reputation is an important thing and we should make changes to paint a positive light to our international friends and allies.

    It’s easy to say “oh he didn’t talk to the right people” or “oh he’s making generalisations” but it doesn’t actually fix anything. It’s hard to actually look at public opinion and go “oh way to many people who come to Australia are leaving thinking we have racist opinions. why is that?” or “oh many public figures and politicians are leaving with negitive opinions of us as a nation. why is that?”. To many people just say “I’m not racist myself so this doesn’t apply to me.” instead of actually looking at our behaviours, actions and attitudes as a nation and finding out why this opinions are coming up so frequently because it’s not for no reason. It’s never for no reason something is making this come up and we should try to find out why.

  117. AMB
    16 Apr 13
    2:25 pm

  118. He is bang on with this observation. Of course there is racism here, it is deeply entrenched and anyone who denies that does not know what they are talking about. He is totally correct about the derision directed towards the Lebanese. Here in Sydney, disdain for the Lebanese is very strong, so much say that I have a couple of Lebanese friends who won’t admit they are Lebanese. They say they are Egyptian instead.

  119. Leigh
    16 Apr 13
    2:28 pm

  120. Its interesting someone raised the hey hey its saturday skit. Not long after, a sarah silverman comedy was shown on comedy central, also showing ‘blackface’… yet aparently thats ok.

    Of course then there’s the racist KFC ad… where aparently you cant give a black man from the West Indies a piece of KFC because you’re being racist… because aparently thats some racial slur against african americans (whom are not from the West Indies).

    Oliver’s an idiot, who feels he can visit and sum up an entire culture of people in just a few days. He’s the racist.

  121. Dave
    16 Apr 13
    2:34 pm

  122. How long was he here? Long enough to know what he’s on about?

  123. Doug
    16 Apr 13
    2:45 pm

  124. Before I moved to Oz I asked a British friend what Australia was like. He said, imagine South Africa, if the whites had won a hundred years ago. And no Dutch.

  125. Rosie
    16 Apr 13
    2:54 pm

  126. Why are people so offend when others say Australia is racist? I’m a white Australian and Australia is racist. I’m not racist but it would be foolish of me to assume my beliefs are held by all Australians when simply turning on channel nine shows you how mainstream racism is here. He isn’t insulting you…he is saying take a look at the culture in your own country and starts calling that crap out!

  127. Gav
    16 Apr 13
    2:56 pm

  128. Bloody Pommy, coming over here and whinging about us being racist…

  129. Steve Griwowsky
    16 Apr 13
    2:58 pm

  130. I just listened to the radio program.

    Are all poms this ignorant? Oops! I think I am being racist and ignorant and tarring all Poms with the same brush.


  131. Rod
    16 Apr 13
    3:08 pm

  132. To all here who see the funny side of it, good on you guys. Its funny cos it’s true.

    To those who got defensive and on their high horses, get a reality check! I’ve lived in the US, Canada, UK and NZ. The racist offenders here at home in Australia are definitely up there in terms of their overtness, aggressiveness and vitriol. From past incidences I have witnessed to the recent stories I have read in the media, a not insignificant percentage of attacks are unprovoked, which at face value does makes Australia feel like a very unwelcome place to foreigners.

  133. Harry
    16 Apr 13
    3:09 pm

  134. I was bashed by a group of Sydney born youths of Lebanese descent, though any other night it could just as easily have been a gang of Caucasian thugs.

    Funnily enough though, John Oliver is right about how people will randomly bring up their hatred of “Lebbos” apropos of nothing. In all seriousness, my Lebanese born friends HATE Sydney Lebs.

  135. Kim
    16 Apr 13
    3:14 pm

  136. Look in your own country first Jamie and gosh America is probably the worst, why do they have all african american schools, talk about segregation gone wrong!

  137. wendy
    16 Apr 13
    3:22 pm

  138. to #2: American here. FYI: Oliver is English, not American. Nows ya knows :)

  139. JF
    16 Apr 13
    3:24 pm

  140. John Oliver is a British Comedian, he has been around for a long time and is on Community as well as the Daily Show. Obviously a lot of people have not heard The Bugle before. Its satire people!!

  141. Lois Sandbourne
    16 Apr 13
    3:31 pm

  142. Wow; get a life, all of you. Stop wasting time debating the intentions of one comedian on a COMEDY show. Have none of you realised, that ALL humour stems from the differences in people and their culture?

  143. Claggers
    16 Apr 13
    3:33 pm

  144. The badonkadonk shall reign down on all Australians. F%#k you Chris!

  145. Earl
    16 Apr 13
    3:53 pm

  146. It’s ignorance commenting on ignorance.

    “Who the fuck is annoyed by Lebanese people?”

    While I think racism is stupid, instead of just asking this question to no one, he could have looked into it.

    ““How many Lebanese people can there actually be in Australia? There’s only just over four million of these people in fucking Lebanon.”

    there are about 200 000 Lebanese people in Australia, most of them are in Sydney. That is a reasonably large minority in a city. They are one of the oldest cultural/ethnic minorities that have come to Australia.

    I am not from Sydney, nor do i have any issue with any Lebanese people I have come across, I don’t feel like I know enough to comment on “Lebbos in Sydney”, but they seem to have enough history and numbers that they aren’t inconsequential in Australia (Maybe complaining about uighurs would make is joke better). but this guy seems to think that ignorance is a good counter to ignorance.

  147. Jay Cam
    16 Apr 13
    4:03 pm

  148. I agree with this article. I work in a mega multi cultural environment and the Lebanese cop the brunt of the racism from everyone. And for those who’ve commented here from Australia (I’m Australian btw) defending it as though there is little racism….really?Australia is just as racist as every other country and since the anti political correctness debate of the last few years, it has become increasingly acceptable to be racist. We had the White Australia Policy remember? And Pauline Hansen? And the Cronulla Riots? Australia is a racist country full stop with the anglo saxon component (I’m anglo saxon btw) thinking they have more rights to be ‘Australian’ than anyone one – including the Aboriginals!

  149. AMNP
    16 Apr 13
    4:24 pm

  150. Judging by all the racist attacks that have occurred lately -mainly on public transport, I am surprised people have taken offence at John Oliver saying Australia is comfortably racist. Its because IT IS comfortably racist. Don’t lie to yourselves and deny its uncommon to hear people complain about the ‘Lebos’, the abbreviation itself is so quintessentially Australian its almost comical to deny it. Just as its not uncommon to hear Australians whinge about pretty much everyone else who is not from here; and this is from middle Australia to our top politicians. Haven’t some of them even based their whole careers on racist agendas?!
    Sure, lets continue to be outraged about accusations of racism while we comfortably pretend there is no such thing in our country.

  151. whatever
    16 Apr 13
    4:38 pm

  152. “Lets be honest White people have been the number one racists for the last 500 years. They think they have the right to go anywhere and do what ever they like. They don’t assimilate. And they try to impose their alien laws and religion on everyone”.
    Mass generalisations about a group of people based on their skin, good stuff. How not assimilating is considered a racist act, I’m not sure. Great discussions people! Really top notch.

    And yes, Australia is totally worse than a country where wars between tribes occur.

  153. Skip
    16 Apr 13
    5:04 pm

  154. Are you all nuts. Of course Australia’s racist. We had a white Australia policy until the mid 70’s. The only difference between us and Sth Africa is we didn’t call it apatheid. We just did it! We took aboriginal children from their parents to be raised with white people. What sort of society allows that!

    Lucky he didn’t got to Darwin. Now there’s a place that’s comfortable in it’s racism. I grew up in Melbourne so was very used to a multi cultural society. Lebs, Skips, Italians, Greeks, Serbs, Croats, Turks, Asians we had them all and we all got on fine, but boy did I have my eyes open to racism in Australia when I went to Darwin.

    Prepared me well for a 3 year stint in Johannesburg.

  155. Bruce McMillan
    16 Apr 13
    5:07 pm

  156. I’m Australian and I actually work with people from all over the Muslim world – Lebanese, Palestinains, Egyptians, Bangladeshi etc., etc. Aside from the fact that some of them are, themselves, among the most racist people I have ever met, many of them also make a distinction between “good” Muslims and those that, fundamentally, just don’t share our western, secular, liberal values. These are the people designated “Lebos” even by other Arabs. These “Lebos” – those that don’t share or are openly hostile to, our foundational western secular values are considered an embarrassment by many in the Muslim community. If the rest of the world has an expectation that we will tolerate people that are dispositionally intolerant of our values, customs, traditions and lifestyle, the rest of the world needs to prepare for disappointment.

  157. Greg
    16 Apr 13
    5:11 pm

  158. Christ that’s all we need. A half arsed Comedian from the capital of cultural Marxism? A nation that’s been taught to hate themselves!

  159. Catherine White
    16 Apr 13
    5:25 pm

  160. Right or wrong, it’s a grubby grab for ratings, in the much the same way Jane Fonda told the vets who are angry she is portraying Nancy Regean in ‘The Butler”. Fonda went so far as to say, let them protest, it will sell tickets. That’s Hollywood.

  161. Marlene
    16 Apr 13
    5:40 pm

  162. Got it in one. My children have been subject to racist remarks.

  163. Andrew Smith
    16 Apr 13
    7:52 pm

  164. Australia does not practice overt racism as we have laws against it and associated social taboos…… However, what has supplanted outright racism are patronising and condescending attitudes to “foreigners” with proxy issues to replace less acceptable face of racism (provided by network of white bigots in the USA with Oz white Australia advocates).

    This includes systemic obsession by media, politicians and advocates with population growth or “sustainable population” (without making distinctions between temp and permanent, plus growth has been slowing), immigration, refugees, “carry capacity”, “visa rorting”, “queue jumping”, “values”, English levels, high Moslem birth rates etc.

    The latest related topic in Oz media from, according to Senator Bob Carr, “Australia’s best demographer” Dr. Bob Birrell, are too many New Zealanders coming to Oz…. of course he does not mean Pacific Islanders and Maoris.

    Has anyone noticed that seems to be only white Australians are asked racism in Australia? Both our ageing media and political class are now largely made up of Australians who seem to be informed by the 1950s?

  165. JA
    16 Apr 13
    8:13 pm

  166. Kim (#68)… where do I even begin?
    First, Jamie Oliver is the chef, John Oliver is the comedian. But they’re both British, so eh, close enough. Second, America… er, USA doesn’t have all black schools as you claim (though historically they did as a necessity). The educational system is skewed so the most economically disadvantaged tend to get the poorest quality schooling. It isn’t a choice. And lastly, “segregation gone wrong”…? I’m pretty sure segregation is wrong, full stop.

  167. This Is England
    16 Apr 13
    8:39 pm

  168. UK- Birthplace of the skinhead. No furths.

  169. The Pigman
    16 Apr 13
    9:25 pm

  170. Making sweeping generalizations about a country after spending a few days there? Seems racist to me.

  171. Scott
    16 Apr 13
    9:29 pm

  172. FYI, Jon Stewart doesn’t have an aitch. Also, the first para makes it sound like Oliver is taking over permanently, but I trust Stewart will return to the helm after his film project is over?

  173. ian
    16 Apr 13
    9:55 pm

  174. im not racist i love every one on earth in every country on earth
    i only hate them when they come here(aust)

  175. Brad
    16 Apr 13
    10:18 pm

  176. John who?

  177. Graeme Hortin
    16 Apr 13
    10:45 pm

  178. Australians are comfortably racist???? from a brassy ill educated tosser of a Brit, wanting now to live in America, ( another comfortable tolerant Nation to be sure.) ? Now thats rich! What a dickhead.

  179. Graeme Hortin
    16 Apr 13
    10:48 pm

  180. PS Everyone have a good look at this two toned hack. Come on down to my town Chris and repeat your slanders face to face. Love to see that.

  181. Kirk
    17 Apr 13
    2:04 am

  182. Our politicians are pretty comfortable with being racist – check out Dennis Jenson telling an indigenous woman to ‘get over colonialism’.


  183. Trish
    17 Apr 13
    3:52 am

  184. Wow, You got it. Try WA, it’s even worse.

  185. Domenic
    17 Apr 13
    4:40 am

  186. Imagine if he had taken a ride on a bus…

  187. Eh?
    17 Apr 13
    8:26 am

  188. Australians are far more institutionally racist than people from the UK. (In general) Without doubt.

    I regularly hear people referring to others as: “Wogs”, as an example of the well ground in ignorance that exists in a culture that was still “white only” only 50 or so years ago…

    Admittedly I would say that people are unintentionally being harmful and more innocently and more ‘ignorantly’ being racist.

    Time will flush it out I guess?

  189. Out of Gerome
    17 Apr 13
    9:04 am

  190. Oh the irony of this comment stream.

  191. keyboardist
    17 Apr 13
    10:14 am

  192. of course we’re racist.

    there’s barely a society on earth that isn’t. doesn’t make it a good thing, just makes it a universal thing.

    like violence and crime. it’s everywhere.

  193. DS
    17 Apr 13
    10:51 am

  194. If you believe Darwin’s theory that we all descended from apes then xenophobia is part of human DNA. When the monkeys came down from the trees they fought with opposing groups of monkeys over land and territory and were very suspicious of interlopers. We’ve been hugely suspicious of ‘outsiders’ ever since. Or so the theory goes…

  195. shaboogen
    17 Apr 13
    11:18 am

  196. It’s called satire.

    Look it up FFS.

  197. Matt
    17 Apr 13
    12:12 pm

  198. John Oliver is a smart guy, of course he’s making generalisations and assumptions but he is also a comedian and this is his way of comedy. The lebanese do cop a bad wrap, but that is because there are small communities of lebanese people in sydney that ARE doing bad things and therefore give all the good christian lebanese people a bad name.

  199. Ada
    17 Apr 13
    1:45 pm

  200. I have lived in Australia for over 16 years and I find John Oliver’s comment an accurate summation of the Australian attitude towards people of some ethnic origins. “They dont belong here.” This is the message they pass unto their kids and it will remain a problem for generations unless they are shocked out of their comfort zones by the odd comedian’s not so funny comment.

  201. offal spokesperson
    17 Apr 13
    1:54 pm

  202. All satirists are ignorant and stupid

  203. ShaneO
    17 Apr 13
    4:08 pm

  204. I think it is quite sad you are abusing your slight celebrity status (I had never heard of you until today) and using Racism and Slander to promote yourself………… Well done mate.
    I am disappointed in myself for commenting on here, but Real Australians that live here every day know this is the greatest place in the world to live and know that this article is complete nonsense. So i would advise you all not be offended by this garbage.

  205. Peace lover
    17 Apr 13
    7:46 pm

  206. I wouldn’t say all Australians are racist, although I must admit queenslanders are the worst within Australia. However, I also admit the fact that the other cultural groups form their own society in some suburbs and not interact with others are wrong as well.To be honest the TV programs should encourage programs by involving different cultural groups to interact with each other.All of us should learn from Japanese TV programs, they really get everyone to get involve with foreigners that come to their land.

  207. Bogan
    17 Apr 13
    10:25 pm

  208. Let’s just look at the facts. Listen to the recording, he’s clearly attempting humour, that’s what comedians do.

    In other countries there isn’t a chance for racism to exist. Foreign people can’t own a business or a house unless they’re married to a local or have acquired citizenship (most of Asia). Some countries won’t let you work there unless you pass all the required background checks (USA). They don’t provide ‘gap year’ or ‘working holiday’ Visa’s.

    And if you’ve been outside the tiny bubble of intelligentsia within our industry, Australians can be shockingly overt with their racism.

    Don’t believe me – check out this website: http://qantasfuckwits.tumblr.com/

    Or visit Bali and see how Aussies treat the locals there.

    It seems to stem more from ignorance than hatred, but it’s a worry for our economy and social standing within the world.

    Ironically, John comes from a place where ‘pakis’ are reviled by every middle-class person, and the term is used more openly than ‘lebo’ is used here.

  209. Andrew Smith
    18 Apr 13
    12:37 am

  210. Curious how Australia has changed (?) when we used to criticise America for being shallow, and neither getting satire nor irony, maybe we take ourselves a bit too seriously…

  211. Andrew Smith
    18 Apr 13
    1:07 am

  212. Humourous takes on immigration, nationality etc.

    Doug Stanhope (American libertarian comedian living on Mexican border) on immigration, applicable in Oz too:


  213. roderick
    18 Apr 13
    10:00 am

  214. He’s actually a pom and not American, and even though the English like to think they invented everything under the sun, I’m sure they think they even invented the Roman empire…. the English as a nation can take credit for inventing racism and shipping the best of the rascists to Australia……. in this country it all started with the murder of thousands of unarmed aboriginal ppl in the queens name all the way through to the constant Asian bashing we see on a current affair TV regularly, basically any non english speaking person is 2nd rate, and even then americans and kiwis are wankers….. and then the much hated pommy bastard…. strangely this weird nation still keeps a useless inbred english monarch as its head of state??? WTF?? as an aboriginal we should be asking the English to compensate aboriginals for all the injustices carried out in the the Queens name…. shameful

  215. yoing
    18 Apr 13
    11:21 am

  216. I’m asian and i have lived in australia for almost 10 years, now i live in new york. I have to say that in the past 10 years in australia, I’ve never felt any racist against myself and seldomly against other non-natives. However, just over the 1 year stay in new york, I’ve got to say this is the most racist place i’ve ever lived in, check out how much the social structure is formed by race is just … shocking.

  217. greg jones
    18 Apr 13
    12:00 pm

  218. We’re not racist you fucking pommie prick!

  219. Gav
    18 Apr 13
    12:12 pm

  220. @Bogan (#104) If you think the term “Paki” is bandied about in the UK, you are just dead wrong. Aussies don’t see what’s wrong with the term (I’ve heard the cricket team referred to as the Paki’s, with no malice intended) as “it’s just an abbreviation”. Well using that term there is dissimilar to using another abbreviation here in Australia: “Abbo”. Yuck.

    I think John’s initial point wasn’t actually that far off the mark, Aussies are comfortably racist, that is, they don’t worry too much about it, but neither do they really mean too much malice by it either. I used to get offended when referred to as a Pom, but it’s just a point of difference, and generally isn’t used to be offensive. As a “Pom” I could never use the term “Lebbo” or even worse “Wog”, but that’s because those terms (particularly the latter) carry a lot more cultural baggage and connotations to us than to the Aussies.

  221. GC
    19 Apr 13
    1:41 pm

  222. Everyone gets very defensive when racism is pointed at Australia and therein is pretty much the proof for John Oliver’s overall point, even couched in humour as it is.

  223. john
    19 Apr 13
    2:45 pm

  224. @”For some reason, the whole ‘Black Face’ sketch on the Hey Hey it’s Saturday re-union comes to mind. ”

    You mean the sketch by INDIAN medical students ?

  225. Evelyn
    20 Apr 13
    8:52 am

  226. I’ve often noticed humour is used to point out uncomfortable points, and make everyone look at themselves a little, going – what me, is it true? Never thought much about it….just the way we talk…don’t mean anything by it, really.
    Compared to the US; not really.

  227. Sushi Kakanako
    20 Apr 13
    1:01 pm

  228. I like what Greg Jones wrote, hahhaha. And I agree with Rodericks comment so true.
    This John Oliver nobody is firstly someone who has no fame desperate to clutch onto something to create interest to bignote himself. Why would any American sitcom have such a boring Englishman try to do humour. Benny Hill was a great artist Oliver would probably classify Benny Hill a sexist pig. At least Benny Hill was famous and highly admired unlike this little weasle. Hey if you are in America why not do something more important and stop those horrible cult people from the Westboro Baptist Church who are so disrespectful to America and just about everyone not in their cult.?? Good luck with your show Oliver, FAIL.

  229. monty
    21 Apr 13
    6:01 pm

  230. Having lived in the USA for several years in Cincinnati where cops routinely shoot African Americans where they wouldn’t white people. Having seen the Brixton riots, the LA riots and the Cincinnati riots. I would think it fair to say we probably are not the most racist place in the world. Thing is it actually is everywhere, Asians think Gaijin are inferior, Americans make Mexican jokes, Mexicans probably make Colombian jokes.

    Grow up and realize it is an extension of the socio-economic group you grew up in, you prefer what you know, I would be willing to bet that some of this mans own relatives would prefer the company of their own social class. BTW did he look at some of the troubles that are occurring in the enclaves that excessive migration is developing. Will the fact that ethnic groups group together become something else that the government is responsible for?

    People are occasionally narrow minded, just don’t let the worst ones like Howard make policy. Easy

  231. Has A Point . .
    22 Apr 13
    2:27 pm

  232. I would say that I would agree somewhat with Oliver’s notion of “comfortable racism” in Australia. Not that it applies to all Australians but a lot of the racism that is conveyed here is open and often humorous but not necessarily less offensive. This is what I suspect Oliver noticed the most. Racism in America, the way I have experienced it anyway, is often delivered in a
    behind-closed-doors, people-looking-over-their-shoulder-to-see-if-anyone-is-around sort of racism (not that that makes it any better). Racist Australians (again, not all Aussies) will tend to make offensive jokes and just blurt out racist thoughts. This leads to the construction and eventual perpetuation of a whole lot of different social and cultural norms (which includes little to no repercussions for the aforementioned delivery of racism). It is for this reason that incidents like the “Hey Hey” blackface performance occur. That skit clearly went through multiple producers before it went on air. Due to the open and subjectively humorous forms of racism displayed in this country, some people in that chain of command obviously thought it was funny and not that offensive.

    In the end, I do believe “comfortable” or “open” racism exists here in Australia, and it is not going away anytime soon. What do you expect though from one of the whitest countries on Earth?

  233. Has A Point . .
    22 Apr 13
    2:36 pm

  234. PS Kudos to Mumbrella for actually referring to John Oliver as a Daily show presenter and not simply ‘reporter’ as the tabloids have done, aiming to rile up the Australian public. Way to blow things out of proportion. Jesus. .

  235. A fellow pom
    23 Apr 13
    3:15 pm

  236. I agree that racism is an accepted part of Australian culture and while not everyone is racist, most people accept it without questioning it.

  237. Eh?
    23 Apr 13
    4:38 pm

  238. @ Peace Lover – comment 103

    Privately educated Sydney and Melbourne men are the most racist – fact.

    (Yes that is right. There are ‘toffs’ in Australia.)

  239. Bonzo
    23 Apr 13
    4:47 pm

  240. My issue is… I have a problem calling this guy a comedian . Funny… yep for sure like
    your still at school man…..or Uni man.. ..he s so insightful man…brilliant satire man..he’s crap.

  241. Alan
    23 Apr 13
    5:31 pm

  242. Is it time we close this thread? Nobody’s making any sense anymore.

    Oh, and this week’s episode John Oliver reacts to this shit storm hilariously and with eloquence.

    I suggest you all listen to it. Then again, from reading these comments as they hit my inbox every few hours, I don’t think many of you listened to the first episode.

  243. Waaah
    30 Apr 13
    3:15 pm

  244. When I arrived in Australia I was horrified at the general level of racism. Come to think of it, I still am.

  245. Kate
    30 Apr 13
    5:34 pm

  246. I think it’s a bit of a cheap shot to accuse Australia of racism when one can hear the most unbelievable sexist and racist comments coming out of the mouths of so many English beer drinkers in their local pubs. Racism is alive and well in England but English people still point a finger at the USA and Australia. I have heard many many racist comments specifically aimed towards Pakistanis throughout England (and especially in London) so it is not unique about Australians criticism of Lebanese. Whilst this is not fair (in many ways) it is as a result of huge gangs of Lebanese disenfranchised youth involved in a lot of drug-related crime in the inner western areas of Sydney. This is a fact and recent drive-by shootings (by Lebanese gangs) reinforce these views. Australians are not PC but at least we are honest!

  247. Sushi Kakanako
    30 Apr 13
    6:41 pm

  248. Waaah you must be very sensitive. Australians are happy go lucky people tolerant of any culture that respects Australia and abides by basic human equality for women men and children. We do not stone our women for various basic wrongs, we dont send children with bombs attached to their chests to blow up innocent people and then call it for the good of their religion. We love peace on our shores and we admire people who do come to Australia who respects the Australian culture and ways. simple. God help you if you dont respect the ways of nations that tolerate and practice terrorism via the alkader group. and sorry i may have spelt that incorrectly. Oh and Oliver come back please to australia, we are all waiting for you with open rotten egg crates. hahhaha joke.

  249. Matthew Lee
    30 Apr 13
    7:40 pm

  250. What an idiot.
    I am sure we could go to America and interview a few people from the Southern states and get some pretty racist remarks about black people.
    I think this fool should worry about his own country’s problems first and foremost.

  251. Question
    30 Apr 13
    10:56 pm

  252. I wonder how long it will take until the leader of Australia is black? Come to think of it, in the UK too?

    Any thoughts?

  253. Anonymous
    3 May 13
    2:10 pm

  254. Hmmm, on my way back from a meeting at Havas this week my Lebanese cab driver heard I was English and immediately told me that it was ok for me to be here as English people wanted to work but Sri Lankans just wanted to come here and live off the state.

    Comfortably racist.

  255. John J
    6 May 13
    5:39 pm

  256. In my time here, I’ve experienced the entire spectrum – from complete acceptance to outright racism. But really, Aussies are mostly good, kindhearted folk.

    However it’s true that Lebanese people are the latest in a long line of ethnic groups (Italians, Greeks, Vietnamese, Indians) to serve as piñatas for the racist discourse in Australian society.

  257. DishWasher
    7 May 13
    11:01 am

  258. When you start off with the sentence with ” I’m not racist but……”

  259. The Obvious
    14 May 13
    7:51 am

  260. Australia even has ‘COON’ cheese, say no more……..