John Oliver gave an elaborate—and sometimes stinging—explanation as to why statues of Confederate leaders should not remain standing Sunday night. The British comedian dedicated the large majority of his HBO comedy show Last Week Tonight to a comprehensive history lesson about the divisive monuments that critics say celebrate America’s dark past.
“If the Confederacy was not about slavery, someone should go back in time and tell the fucking Confederacy that,” Oliver said. “And yet, remarkably, people think the Civil War was about something else.”
Oliver showed Pew Research Center data from 2011 that found that nearly half of Americans—48 percent, in fact—thought the Civil War was about “states’ rights.” Only 38 percent of Americans thought it was about slavery.