BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A popular comedian used his HBO show to criticize Gov. Kay Ivey and Alabama’s new law banning gender-affirming medication for transgender youth in the state Sunday night.
On the latest episode of “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” host John Oliver directed attention to Alabama’s Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, which makes it a felony for doctors to prescribe gender-affirming puberty blockers and hormones to transgender minors younger than 19. Under the law, doctors who gave such medication to children would be subject to up to 10 years in prison.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Liles Burke issued a preliminary injunction to block part of the law, at least for now.
During the opening of the show, Oliver took aim at Ivey, as well as referencing an unusual sculpture in Enterprise that recently made the news.
“That is absolutely appalling and look, there are lots of understandable reasons that someone in Alabama might be criminally punished for murder, say, or for running a Ponzi scheme, or for creating this actual statue at an Alabama McDonald’s of Ronald McDonald reimagined as a giant boll weevil, but no one should ever be facing criminal punishment for providing health care to young people. This has all been signed by the state’s governor, Kay Ivey, a woman who, as you can see, always looks like she’s saying ‘ham.'”
Oliver played one recent commercial for Ivey’s re-election campaign, where she pointed to the law, as well as similar laws that banned transgender athletes to participate in sports with the gender they identify with.
“Some things are just facts: summer is hot, the ocean is big, and gender is a question of biology, not identity,” Ivey said. “Here in Alabama, we’re going to go by how God made us because we identify with something liberals never will: reality.”
Oliver took Ivey to task for her statements.
“As to her point there that we have to respect how God made us do we? Really? Why? Because we got too many holes, way too little hair, and necks, fragile lollipop bones that balance our dumb heads in one very specific direction, or else we die. None of this is intelligent design,” Oliver said. “And what Alabama’s worst meemaw might appeal to reality there, the truth is major medical associations oppose bans on transgender affirming care with good reason because it saves lives and withdrawing it can be incredibly harmful.”
Oliver ended the segment by standing in solidarity with transgender children in Alabama who would be affected by the law.
“To trans children in Alabama, let me just say this: you are important. Your lives are important. I cannot imagine trying to build self-esteem in childhood as your own government attempts to undermine your very existence. But you should know, you are profoundly valuable, and you’re irreplaceable,” he said. “Now, as for Kay Ivey, what the f*** is wrong with you? Another simple question with probably a long, complicated answer, but to put this in terms that you will definitely understand: summer’s hot, ocean’s big, and the people of Alabama deserve a lot better than you.”
On Monday, Ivey released the following statement regarding Oliver’s segment:
“I can assure you the people of Alabama want nothing to do with Mr. Oliver’s Hollywood-friendly, liberal agenda. We’re going to keep focusing on helping our young people develop into the adults God intended them to be, and if that offends you, John, I don’t care.”
This is not the first time Oliver has had his sights on Alabama. In the past, he has also talked about former Gov. Robert Bentley’s ethics violations, the state’s abortion ban law from 2019, and lawyer “Alabama Hammer” Mike Slocumb.
Ivey will face eight contenders in the Alabama Republican primary for governor on May 24.