After a long three-month break, John Oliver returned to HBO for his 10th season of Last Week Tonight this Sunday. And the first thing he had to talk about were the bombshell text messages that Fox News stars were sending each other in the immediate aftermath of the 2020 election.

“Wow, if I were a Fox viewer, I’d feel pretty betrayed by that. It’s like finding out that Big Bird regularly texts Elmo, ‘F*** them kids,’ and Elmo agrees,” the ‘Last Week Tonight’ host quipped.

At the top of his HBO talk show, Oliver brought up the court filings that were made public last week in a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News related to the 2020 election fraud claims.

Dominion Voting Systems, which sells electronic voting hardware and software, is suing Fox News and parent company Fox Corporation, claiming some Fox News employees deliberately amplified false claims that Dominion had changed votes in the 2020 election, and that Fox provided a platform for guests to make false and defamatory statements.

The court filings claim that Fox News hosts had serious concerns about allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election being made by guests who were allies of former President Donald Trump.

“Sidney Powell is lying,” about having evidence for election fraud, Tucker Carlson told a producer about the attorney on Nov. 16, 2020, according to an excerpt from an exhibit that remains under seal. Carlson also referred to Powell in a text as an “unguided missile,” and “dangerous as hell.” Laura Ingraham, meanwhile, told Carlson that Powell is “a complete nut. No one will work with her. Ditto with Rudy,” referring to former New York mayor and Trump supporter Rudy Giuliani. And Sean Hannity said in a deposition “that whole narrative that Sidney was pushing, I did not believe it for one second,” according to Dominion’s filing.

Oliver started off his Last Week Tonight segment by quipping that Fox News’ “very name is a lie in that it provides neither news nor, indeed, foxes.”

Oliver showed a CNN report of hosts including Ingraham noting that “disturbing irregularities have been found and must be investigated to the fullest.”

Said Oliver: “Wow, if I were a Fox viewer, I’d feel pretty betrayed by that. It’s like finding out that Big Bird regularly texts Elmo, ‘Fuck them kids,’ and Elmo agrees.”

Back to the Fox News hosts, Oliver noted that the court filing shows “the extent to which Fox News hosts did not believe the shit that they were selling, which is completely fine if you work for QVC and you have to fill an hour on why a bejeweled Squatty Potty will save your life, but it’s a bit more concerning when you pretend to be the news.”

Oliver also pointed to claims in the court filing where Fox News hosts are accused of being concerned about losing viewers to right-wing channels like Newsmax, with internal communication between Hannity and a producer noting that their “best minutes” being on the “voting irregularities.”

Oliver then said he sympathized with the need to keep viewers, noting he and his Last Week Tonight team also face pressure to keep people tuning in. The difference? “We do it the old-fashioned way, by having integrity, self-respect and the blind fortune of airing right after hit prestige dramas that people actually want to watch. It’s not difficult,” he quipped, as the title cards from HBO’s Game of Thrones, Succession and The Last of Us were displayed onscreen — all shows that Last Week Tonight airs or has aired after.

“Multiple Fox hosts seem to see telling the truth as a potentially existential threat,” Oliver said. He then showed a clip of a CNN report saying that Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich had fact-checked a Trump tweet about votes being destroyed, after which Carlson texted colleagues: “Please get her fired. Seriously….What the F***?… It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down.”

Said Oliver: “As egregious as that is, it does definitely track, as the list of fireable offenses at Fox News seems to be ‘making stock price go down’ or ‘being a sexual monster for decades (but only if people outside the company find out about it).’”

Fox News attorneys have argued in a counterclaim that the lawsuit is an assault on the First Amendment. They said Dominion has advanced “novel defamation theories” and is seeking a “staggering” damage figure aimed at generating headlines, chilling protected speech and enriching Dominion’s private equity owner, Staple Street Capital Partners.

Fox attorneys also said in their own summary judgment brief that Carlson repeatedly questioned Powell’s claims in his broadcasts. They also wrote that when voting-technology companies denied the allegations being made by Trump and his surrogates, Fox News aired those denials, while some Fox News hosts offered protected opinion commentary about Trump’s allegations.