Ryan Lochte was the subject of the opening segment of this week’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Lochte, like many of Oliver’s targets, was brutalized and decimated by the HBO program. The strange part about this segment is that they focused on old, inaccurate details and on easy surface-level jokes about Lochte’s intellect using old clips.
While there’s plenty to criticize about Lochte’s actions last weekend – acting like a boorish lout and then “embellishing” the story to police, media, and, most importantly, mom – what actually happened more closely resembles Lochte’s version of events than what we were initially led to believe.
Oliver mentions the initial reports of vandalism, specifically that Lochte and crew broke a soap dispenser and door. Those reports have since been disproved. He also made sure to emphasize that Lochte was already back in America while his teammates were detained in Brazil, neglecting to mention that Lochte had taken a scheduled flight and has since given a more appropriate P.R.-crafted apology.
Last Week Tonight is capable of regular deep-dives on important issues, but this time they appeared to just run with a bunch of (admittedly solid) jokes written early in the week and decided to ignore any follow-up reports that might soften them. Meanwhile, they passed on a chance to take on the corrupt Rio police department or the media circus around the story, in favor of dreaming up a dozen ways to call an athlete dumb. Still, John Oliver destroyed Ryan Lochte on Last Week Tonight, and that headline is all that matters.