Tobacco company Philip Morris has offered a response after coming under fire on an HBO show. The Los Angeles Times reports that the company issued a statement after John Oliver, the host of “Last Week Tonight,” devoted much of last Sunday night’s installment of the show to a segment attacking the tobacco firm.
“The HBO host spent about 20 minutes ripping into the tobacco company’s threats of lawsuits — especially in poorer nations such as Togo — in what Oliver called an attempt to ward off more stringent regulations on cigarettes, such as laws that require cigarette boxes to feature pictures of diseased body parts and warnings of the health consequences of smoking,” the Times reports.
In the segment, Oliver suggested a replacement for the Marlboro Man, introducing a character he calls “Jeff the Diseased Lung in a Cowboy Hat.”
The segment has been one of TVWeek’s Viral Videos for several days. To see it, please click here.
A statement issued by Philip Morris International after the show aired says in part:
“’Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ is a parody show, known for getting a laugh through exaggeration and presenting partial views in the name of humor. The segment includes many mischaracterizations of our company, including our approach to marketing and regulation, which have been embellished in the spirit of comedic license.
“While we recognize the tobacco industry is an easy target for comedians, we take seriously the responsibility that comes with selling a product that is an adult choice and is harmful to health.”