John Oliver blasts Hotstar for not streaming Modi episode of his show

New York, Mar 9 (PTI) 'Last Week Tonight' host John Oliver has slammed Disney-owned streaming service Hotstar for 'self censoring' an episode critical of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government over the Citizenship Amendment Act and his handling of the protests against it.

In the latest episode that aired in the US on Sunday, the satirist also took on an Indian TV news anchor who said Oliver had 'embarrassed' himself with the Modi episode.

A new episode of the Emmy award winning show is streamed on Hotstar for Indian subscribers every week on Tuesday at 6 am. On February 25, 'Modi: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver' was expected to be available to Hotstar subscribers from 6 am but those who logged in only found the show of the week before.

Oliver said he was alerted that the episode did not air in India by his viewers in the country.

'A couple of weeks ago we did a story on India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which some diehard Modi supporters like Arnab Goswami, the Tucker Carlson of India, did not enjoy....

'That episode actually did not air in India. A lot of our viewers alerted us of the fact that Hotstar, the streaming service that broadcast us in India, never uploaded that episode in India. There is no evidence that Indian government made them do that,' Oliver said.

At best, he said, he can tell that Hotstar just decided to self-censor, 'which is still not good'.

'And what's worse is, it's apparently not even the first time that they have censored us. We've discovered that they've quietly been doing it for a while now, but not for the reason that you might expect,' the host said.

Oliver also segued in a clip of the criticism against him by the Indian channel. 'I'll give you ignoramus. I’ll even give you a third-rate TV host. My researchers assure me that’s an actual compliment - but I embarrass myself? Who the f*** do you think you’re talking to?!” He added that Hotstar had cut out a joke about Mickey Mouse in an earlier episode on US Census and another about Donald Duck.

'Why did they do that? It’s hard to say, but it might be because Hotstar is actually owned by Disney, and they seem extra-sensitive about Disney references.' Oliver, who has voiced hornbill Zazu in Disney's live-action reimagining of 'The Lion King', said it was pointless for the streaming service to censor his words critical of the studio as he is 'Zazu'.

'If you think you that you have to remove anything that reflects poorly on Disney from this show I have some bad news for you my friends - I’m f***ing Zazu right here. Everything that comes out of this beak is a Disney fact.' PTI BK RDS BK MIN MIN