In a recent episode of his AppleTV+ show “The Problem with Jon Stewart,” the comedian expressed frustration over the backlash he received last year for discussing the COVID-19 lab leak theory during an appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Stewart’s comments came one day after a classified US Energy Department report revealed that a lab leak was the most likely explanation for the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During his show, Stewart addressed the controversy and downplayed the notion that he felt vindicated by the report, which has not yet been made public.
Despite this, it is clear that Stewart is still miffed over the backlash he faced for his comments on the lab leak theory, and his recent discussion of the issue suggests that he remains committed to exploring controversial topics on his show.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the world, it is likely that discussions surrounding its origins will remain a hotly debated topic.
The former “Daily Show” host had faced condemnation for backing the theory during his June 2021 discussion with Colbert.
“First of all, I wasn’t waiting on the Department of Energy to weigh in on this,” Stewart joked.
“The larger problem with all of this is the inability to discuss things that are within the realm of possibility without falling into absolutes and litmus-testing each other for our political allegiances as it arose from that,” Stewart added.
“My bigger problem with that was, I thought it was a pretty good bit that expressed kind of how I felt, and the two things that came out of it were, I’m racist against Asian people, and how dare I align myself with the alt-right.”
Stewart remembered that the negative reaction he received after his appearance was “quick, instantaneous, and very vocal,” but he clarified that he did not take it as a personal attack. However, what he found displeasing were the definitive statements and dismissive attitudes, such as “screw you, I’m finished with you” or “I’ll never forgive you, you’ve crossed a line that cannot be forgiven,” based on differences of opinion. Stewart elaborated on this point further.
“What was stunning to me, I think, was the anger,” he added.
Critics on the left attacked Stewart for his remarks on “The Late Show” last year. At the time, the COVID-19 lab leak theory was widely panned as a conspiracy theory by most mainstream media outlets.
Colbert appeared to be shocked by Stewart’s stance.
“Science has, in many ways, helped ease the suffering of this pandemic, which was more than likely caused by science,” Stewart said.
“Do you mean perhaps there’s a chance that this was created in a lab? If there’s evidence, I’d love to hear it, I just don’t know,” Colbert said.
“A chance? Oh my God!” Stewart replied with clear incredulity. “There’s a novel respiratory coronavirus overtaking Wuhan, China, what do we do? Oh, you know who we could ask? The Wuhan novel respiratory coronavirus lab.”
“‘Oh my God, there’s been an outbreak of chocolatey goodness near Hershey, Pennsylvania. What do you think happened?’” Stewart added. “Like, ‘Oh, I don’t know, maybe a steam shovel mated with a cocoa bean?’ Or it’s the f—ing chocolate factory.”
The Energy Department said it had “low confidence” in its determination about the COVID-19 virus’s origins, sources with knowledge of the report told the Wall Street Journal.
A year earlier, the FBI concluded with “moderate confidence” that a lab accident caused the outbreak.
I never remember such a crazy time – almost nothing, NOTHING should be considered a bad thing – that might offend someone! This is how folks seem to be thinking about things that would have been appropriate for a horror movie or in some cases the most bizarre comedy ever – even perhaps only 30 years or so ago!! One wonders if the crazies have taken over? Is there hope that we may get back on an even keel!?? It’s too bad more of the things probably fit the horror word and not the comedy!