News & Politics

John Oliver Torches the Redskins’ Dirty-Word Defense

Screenshot via HBO.

The Reformed Whores aren’t the only ones with a creative response to the Washington NFL team’s epically vulgar legal defense of its nickname as the franchise seeks to restore the federal protections on its trademarks. The team’s recent court filing also caught the attention of HBO’s John Oliver, who spent a few minutes on Last Week Tonight picking apart the document, in which the team justifies its name—a word commonly accepted as a racial slur against Native Americans—by listing dozens of products with usually unmentionable names.

With the freedom of subscription cable, though, Oliver was able to read off many of the entries that other television channels blanched at. “I could go on, so I will,” the English comedian said. “They also pointed to Milf Weed, Make Your Own Dildo, and Laughing My Vagina Off. I could stop, but I won’t.”

After saying the names of a few more naughty brands, Oliver got to a part of the team’s legal briefing that many overlooked last week, even though it was perhaps the flimsiest possible argument.

“But maybe the most obnoxious part of the Redskins entire 82-page appeal is when they argue, ‘Just about everything is potentially disparaging to someone,’ ” Oliver said, “because a, not it isn’t and b, that’s not the fucking point!”

Oliver closed the bit with a nod to the Washington team’s frequent claim that its name is meant to “honor” Native Americans.

“Let me suggest that everyone now honor Dan Snyder by renaming their fantasy football teams ‘Dan Snyder Is a Thin-Skinned Racist Whose Sunglasses Look Like Something a Tacky Pedophile Might Settle For.”

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.