John Oliver Makes TV History With Astounding Act Of Charity

HBO/Last Week Tonight

Move over Oprah Winfrey, you have been bested for most generous TV giveaway.

English comedian and host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight dropped a charitable bombshell on viewers during Sunday’s show.

Following an in-depth segment on the hideous debt-buying industry, Oliver revealed he and the show were writing off $15 million of medical debt – roughly £10.3 million.

Check it out:

As reported by The Guardian, Oliver explained:

Once the company has bought your debt, whether the information is accurate or not, they are going to try to collect on it.

Debt-buying is a grimy business and badly needs more oversight, because as it stands any idiot can get into it. And I can prove that to you because I am an idiot and we started a debt-buying company. And it was disturbingly easy.

The show set up a debt recovery company in Mississippi for just $50 called Central Asset Recovery Professionals Inc – aka. CARP.

CARP then purchased $14,922,261.76 worth of medical debt at ‘less than half a cent on a dollar, which is less than $60,000.’

HBO/Last Week Tonight

But rather than demand payment from roughly 9,000 debtors, CARP partnered with charity RIP Medical Debt and forgave what was owed.

Co-founder of RIP Medical Debt, Craig Antico said:

Thanks to this 5 June airing of the HBO comedy series, Last Week Tonight show with John Oliver, there are a lot more of us now privy to this collection industry practice and the debt treadmill it creates.

In a painfully hilarious (debt as funny? Somehow, yes) piece, John Oliver triumphantly out-Oprah’s Oprah in giving away valuable gifts.

Oprah had set the bar high after giving $8 million worth of cars away to her audience in the now infamous ‘You get a car! You get a car! You get a car! Everybody gets a car!’ segment, so well done to Oliver and his team for clearing it.

What an unbelievable act, and an incredible way to raise awareness about the bottom-feeder industry!


Kieron Curtis

An NCTJ Journalist with an MA in Sports Journalism, Kieron is an experienced social media journalist who has worked in the industry since 2015. His experience includes work with ITN, the MEN, WISH/WIRE/TOWER FM, and 8:50 Sports Digest... not forgetting his time at ASDA.