Stewart: People Accused Me of Being Racist, Alt-Right For Stating Obvious About Wuhan Lab Leak
Comedian Jon Stewart responded last week to a report from the Department of Energy that COVID-19 likely originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
The former “Daily Show” host came under intense criticism in June 2021 following an appearance on CBS’ “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” when he said the virus was “more than likely caused by science.”
Colbert sought to clarify what Stewart was suggesting, saying, “There’s a chance that this was created in a lab.”
“A chance?” Stewart responded. “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.”
“The disease is the same name as the lab. That’s just a little too weird, don’t you think?” Stewart asked.
He offered a funny analogy.
“‘There’s been an outbreak of chocolatey goodness near Hershey, Pennsylvania. What do you think happened?'” Stewart said. “Like, ‘Oh, I don’t know, maybe a steam shovel mated with a cocoa bean?’ Or it’s the f***ing chocolate factory! Maybe that’s it.”
Colbert listened further as Stewart made his case and then asked, “And how long have you worked for Sen. Ron Johnson?” The Republican senator from Wisconsin has often been critical of the federal government’s handling of the pandemic.
Soon thereafter, Colbert told Stewart, “You know we stopped filming a long time ago.”
On the AppleTV+ show “The Problem with Jon Stewart” on Monday, co-host Brenda Adhikari brought up the Department of Energy’s findings that COVID-19 likely originated in the Wuhan lab.
“Are you trying to get me canceled again?” Stewart asked.
“First of all, I wasn’t waiting for the Department of Energy to weigh in on this,” he 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,” Stwart observed.
“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 said.
Warning: The following video contains language that some viewers may find offensive.
Today @JonStewart talks to some of our staff about the news that the COVID-19 virus may, in fact, have leaked from a lab in China and what it reveals about the problem with the media narrative machine. Full episode drops Wednesday on @ApplePodcasts pic.twitter.com/tsaLUYzIRl
— The Problem With Jon Stewart (@TheProblem) February 27, 2023
He recounted that the backlash he received after his appearance on “The Late Show” was “swift, immediate and quite loud.”
Stewart joked he might as well have put on a “Hillary for Prison” hat.
“The part that I don’t like about it is the absolutes and the dismissive, like, ‘F*** you, I’m done with you. I will never forgive you. You have crossed an unforgivable line. You’ve expressed an opinion that is antithetical to mine or not mine,’” he said.
Stewart concluded, “What was stunning to me, I think, was the anger.”