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John Oliver: Got a 'White Penis?' You Won't Be Harassed Online

Oliver goes long on revenge porn, online harassment, and the utter failure of law enforcement to protect threatened women.

John Oliver went long on online harassment on Sunday's episode of Last Week Tonight. If you've managed to avoid being harassed or threatened on the internet, Oliver said, "congratulations on your white penis."

The video is a detailed look at both revenge porn, as well as the everyday harassment and sometimes incredibly specific threats that women get on Twitter and other social media sites. Oliver also took aim at law enforcement, and a legal system that is not even remotely equipped to deal with online threats of violence.


"If a woman turns up to a police station saying someone threatened her life on Twitter, the answer 'What is Twitter' is woefully inadequate," Oliver said.

Unlike in some of his past segments, Oliver didn't have much to offer in the way of potential solutions, underscoring how difficult it is to force people to change behaviors online. Oliver called for more revenge porn laws (so far, just 23 states have some sort of revenge porn law), and also called on the media to stop telling women and young people to not take naked pictures of themselves.

"The victim-blamey sentiment of 'If you didn't want this to happen, you shouldn't have taken photos' is hard wired into mainstream culture," Oliver said. "What the fuck are you talking about? It doesn't matter how it happens—insert any other crime into [sentences used by the media to blame victims]. 'Listen guys, if you didn't want to get burgled, don't live in a house.'"

Oliver praised Reddit and Google for the recent steps they've taken to make posting or finding revenge porn more difficult, but ultimately, he admitted that we're going to need a wholesale change in the attitudes of the people doing the harassing.

"The internet is mean," he said. "[Harassment] can affect any woman who has a thought in her head and then decided to put that online."