‘How Dare I’: Jon Stewart Reflects on Lab-Leak Theory Blowback

A day after the U.S. Department of Energy’s report asserting that Covid-19 likely leaked out of a Chinese research lab in Wuhan, Jon Stewart condemned critics who had dismissed the comedian as a racist and conspiracy theorist after he endorsed the theory more than a year earlier.

After Stewart’s co-host on The Problem with Jon Stewart read the Department of Energy report, the comedian joked: “Are you trying to get me canceled again?”

Stewart placed much of the blame for the fallout on political correctness.

“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,” he said.

The former Daily Show host landed in hot water back in June 2021 during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for mocking progressives who dismissed the lab-leak theory for partisan reasons.

During one segment of the controversial interview, Colbert asked Stewart, “Do you mean perhaps there’s a chance that this was created in a lab? If there’s evidence I’d love to hear it, I just don’t know.”

“A chance? Oh my god! 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!”

“Oh my God, there’s been an outbreak of chocolatey goodness near Hershey, Pennsylvania. What do you think happened?’” Stewart joked. “Like, ‘Oh I don’t know, maybe a steam shovel mated with a cocoa bean?’ Or it’s the f***ing chocolate factory.”

Stewart joked on Monday’s episode that the blowback from the appearance was the equivalent of if he put a “Hillary for Prison” on his head and that the condemnation was “swift, immediate and quite loud.”

“My bigger problem with that was 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 told the panel.

“The part that I don’t like about it is the absolutes and the dismissive like ‘f**k 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,'” Stewart said.

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