John Oliver may have scored a comedy hit with his new HBO series Last Week Tonight, but the Thailand government is not amused.
According to a report from Vice News, the cheeky Brit has enraged Thailand’s current reigning military junta, the National Council of Peace and Order, with comments he recently made on the show.
As revealed in a “highly confidential” document obtained by Vice, the Thailand military junta appears to be steamed about Oliver poking fun at the country’s ruling class on the June 22 episode of Last Week Tonight.
The Thai military, under the guidance of General Prayuth Chan-ocha, seized power on May 22, two weeks after former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra was forced to step down after being found guilty of abuse of power by the country’s Constitutional Court.
Earlier this week, it was announced General Chan-Ocha could stay in charge of the country as the head of a provisional government until elections are held sometime next year.
All of which of course has been obvious comedy fodder for Oliver, who came to Last Week Tonight following a decade as a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
In the contentious LWT episode, Oliver took aim at General Chan-ocha’s “happiness campaign” that was designed to dismiss criticism about the junta’s crackdown on human rights and freedom of speech.
And it probably didn’t help matters when Oliver called Thailand’s Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn an “idiot.”
Specifically, Oliver introduced a segment of the recently leaked footage showing Prince Vajiralongkorn and his wife, Princess Srirasm, attending the birthday party for their pet poodle, Foo Foo, who apparently holds the rank of Air Chief Marshal in the Royal Thai Air Force.
In the clip, the princess is topless and is shown lying at her husband’s feet at the soirée as she poses happily with a slice of birthday cake.
“And you’re telling me they’re not supposed to make fun of that?” cracked Oliver. “That’s entrapment!”
In the Thai government document, allegedly written four days after the LWT episode aired, the author rails about overseas activities the military junta believes are “undermining the royal institution” and criticizes the “Free Thai” resistance movement being mounted by exiled activists.
And right in the middle of the propaganda message, there’s a paragraph wholly devoted to the threat that John Oliver supposedly poses to the military regime.
To quote directly: “Mr. William John Oliver, a comedy actor known for parodying English politics, discusses the issue of Crown Prince Felipe of Spain’s inauguration, criticizing it and referring/connecting it to other countries with monarchs, such as Queen Elizabeth II, by means of showing sections of and criticizing the ‘poolside clip’ on HBO.”
Moving from the ridiculous to the sublime, the same document names other perceived threats to the current military regime, including Chatwadee “Rose” Amornpat, a Thai hairdresser living in London who has criticized the monarchy via social media, and Pavin Chachavalpongpun, a Thai college professor who resides in Kyoto, Japan.
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Source: Entertainment Weekly