‘Annoying sh*t out of Lukashenka’. Famous TV host John Oliver announces selling teddy bears in support of Belarusians

Inspired by the so called furry stunt, the reputed US anchorman is going to hand over the money raised to organisations fighting for freedom of the press and human rights in Belarus.

A 20-minute episode of HBO’s show Last Week Tonight which was aired on September, 12 was dedicated to the situation in our country. Its host John Oliver spoke about the results of the 2020 elections in Belarus, mocked at Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s attitude to the COVID-19 pandemic, mentioned the cases of torturing political prisoners and disappearing opponents of Europe’s last dictator, recalled the forced landing of a Ryanair plane and arrest of dissident journalist Raman Pratasevich.

John Oliver put a special emphasis on the incident that was on everyone’s lips in the summer of 2012: in early July, hundreds of teddy bears carried in a plane piloted by two Swedes parachuted down on the Belarusian capital of Minsk and the town of Ivyanets early morning in a show of support for the country’s pro-democracy movement. Then the Swedish advertising agency Studio Total took responsibility for the action pointing out that sometimes they also use the money they earn to promote issues they find important, like treating all people the same, or the right to free speech.

The episode might have included lots of first-class jokes, but the anchorman was quite serious when announcing that he would sell teddy bears in support of Belarus. On Belarusbearforce.com one can order a $ 19,99 teddy bear wearing a T-shirt with a picture of two potatoes and a carrot making something that, according to Oliver, may be considered ‘indecent’. They promise to give all the money raised to organisations fighting for freedom of the press and human rights in Belarus. The campaign has been launched in partnership with the GlobalGiving charity platform. It should be noted that the teddy bears are limited-edition; there are only 10,000 toys available.

“If there is one thing that we know he hates, apart from gay people, Jews, his old bald head and anyone who disagrees with him, it is teddy bears. Frankly speaking, why wouldn’t he? Look at them, they are everything he is not: cute, loveable, and covered in thick natural hair all the way around,” the TV presenter added.

Last Week Tonight is an extremely popular TV show, each issue of which gains millions of views on HBO and on Youtube. There is even a saying ‘John Oliver’s effect’ – some episodes of the show are known to have had a real life impact.