Is John Oliver vegan?
Source: Getty Images

Is John Oliver Vegan? The 'Last Week Tonight' Host Has Criticized the Meat Industry


Feb. 19 2021, Published 1:38 p.m. ET

John Oliver is one of the most outspoken advocates of common sense operating in the entertainment industry today. Over the years, Oliver’s unique brand of satire has garnered him both fame and controversy, and thanks to his humorous discussions regarding several aspects of environmentalism and animal cruelty, many people wonder if John Oliver is vegan

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john oliver vegan
Source: Getty Images

Is John Oliver vegan?

Currently, there is little evidence that Oliver himself is vegan, though the content of his satirical news program, Last Week Tonight, has often shifted to discussions about a number of controversial environmental subjects, such as climate change, the meat industry, food waste, and social justice

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Will John Oliver eventually go vegan?

While many of Oliver’s vegan fans are confident that he will eventually make the shift to veganism or even discuss it openly, some vegan viewers are not so sure. Discussions on Reddit have led to heated arguments over whether or not even discussing veganism on Last Week Tonight would prove “too controversial” for the popular television program. 

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As someone who has watched and enjoyed Oliver’s intelligent and well-informed humor for many years, I would have to disagree. Oliver has never shied away from controversial topics. In the seven years that his show has been on the air, he has discussed everything from tobacco to coal mining, religion, dictatorships, Brexit, and the U.S. presidency. Thus, an eventual discussion on the pros and cons of veganism is almost assured. 

John Oliver on food waste:

Source: LastWeekTonight/YouTube

Vegan or not, Oliver has discussed other pertinent green topics over the years. In 2015, Oliver filmed a particularly relevant segment discussing food waste in the U.S. Using his poignant brand of satire, Oliver brings to light the fact that 730 football stadiums worth of food gets thrown out each year, and pokes fun at the absurdity by comparing it to country band Rascal Flatts, saying:

“Food waste is like the band Rascal Flats: It can fill a surprising number of stadiums, even though many people consider it complete garbage.” 
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The episode goes on to feature clips of a landfill in Salinas Valley, Calif., where hundreds of pounds of perfectly good produce had been unceremoniously dumped. He also discusses the problems with legislation designed to reduce this feed waste, as well as offering advice for people looking to waste less food, in general. 

John Oliver on chickens:

Source: LastWeekTonight/YouTube

Chickens might seem like an unusual topic to some people, but Oliver’s take on the animals, the industry, and the importance of both is a clear indication that he cares deeply about the topic. Throughout the segment, Oliver discusses the cruelty of the industry, the impossible number of animals being killed and eaten each year, and the farmers who struggle mightily to bring it to our collective table. 

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The main point throughout the whole segment is that it isn’t just the chickens who get abused by the four main chicken companies — Purdue, Tyson, Sanderson Farms, and Pilgrim’s — it’s also the chicken farmers themselves: many of whom have spoken out against the conditions their animals are raised in and been chastised or punished for it. The whole segment is a powerful statement, but that’s not surprising coming from a TV host that is known for making powerful statements. 

Regardless of his vegan status, there’s no denying that John Oliver has great passion for the work he does and that he takes what he says very seriously. Last Week Tonight, which just premiered its eighth season in mid-February 2021, has proven to be a bright ray of amusing sunlight shining through the torrential downpour of misinformation that some other news programs represent. We can only hope that Oliver keeps delivering that information in the same unbiased and highly humorous way. 

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