"The Internet has become integral to modern life," John Oliver says in the above report, a segment from Sunday's episode of Last Week Tonight. "But, unfortunately, it's also become a haven for harassment." The host breaks down the perils that women encounter online, including revenge-porn and chilling cyber threats. "Congratulations on your white penis," Oliver cracks, "because if you have one of those, you probably have a very different experience of the Internet."
After a quick Rickroll, Oliver takes a hard look at sexism in the video game industry, in which women have been subjected to rape and death threats. One writer, Amanda Hess, faced terrifying hostility on Twitter, but gained no security after taking the information to police.
The host also surveys the horrifying landscape of revenge-porn, wherein nude photos are posted online without consent. (One report focuses on a teacher who attempted suicide after an ex-boyfriend posted her private photos.) That revenge-porn exists at all is sad enough – but even sadder is America's legal ambivalence toward it. Only 23 states have passed laws against revenge-porn, and civil suits can be expensive. To get photos removed, one must establish a copyright – which often entails having to send more nude photos to the U.S. Copyright Office in D.C.
Oliver argues that victim blaming is "hard-wired into mainstream culture." He cuts to a montage of TV personalities arguing that people shouldn't take nude photos to begin with. "Listen, guys, if you don't want to get burgled, don't live in a house!" Oliver jokes. "If you're a parent, how are you going to explain that break-in to your kids?"
The good news is that sites like Twitter and Reddit have banned revenge-porn, and Google recently revealed it will remove revenge-porn photos from their search results upon request.
"We all know the Internet is an incredible tool," Oliver says. "But like most tools, it can be used as a weapon." The segment ends with a hilarious parody of a 20-year-old AOL commercial, featuring two guys who use the convenience of the Internet for a variety of purposes: "fear for safety," "intimidation" and "make life endless, harrowing nightmare."