“Are you trying to cancel me again?” Jon Stewart jokes he didn’t wait for the energy department report that COVID was likely leaking from a lab in Wuhan – but remembers the brutal reaction when he suggested it at the 2021 Colbert show
Jon Stewart has reflected on the backlash he received after suggesting in 2021 that Covid could have leaked from a lab.
His comments came amid rumors that the energy department has issued a new report suggesting that the illness may in fact have originated in a lab.
Stewart sparked major controversy and was criticized for being racist after an appearance on the Stephen Colbert show in 2021, in which he said the virus could very well have come from a lab.
At the time, the lab leak theory was stigmatized and most of the media had labeled it a right-wing conspiracy theory.
When the topic came up on Monday on his new show, “The Problem with Jon Stewart,” he joked, “Are you trying to cancel me again?”
In 2021, Stewart suggested the coronavirus originated in a lab in Wuhan, China, saying it seemed too coincidental that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was studying coronaviruses when COVID-19 originated in Wuhan
While Stewart now rightly doubted the possibility that the virus came from a Chinese research lab, he was also humble, claiming that he was merely advocating open-mindedness.
“First of all, I wasn’t waiting for the Department of Energy to have a say on this,” he said on the podcast. “What’s the Department of Energy got to do with this?”
“The bigger 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 on our political allegiances as they grew,” Stewart said.
On the 2021 episode of the Colbert show, Stewart was challenged by the host, who suggested that he himself had not seen any evidence pointing to the lab leak theory.
“Science has contributed in many ways to easing the suffering of this pandemic, which is more than likely science-induced,” Stewart said.
“You mean maybe there’s a chance this was made in a lab? If there’s any evidence, I’d like to hear it, I just don’t know,” Colbert said in response.
‘A chance? Oh my god, there is a new respiratory coronavirus overtaking Wuhan, China, what should we do? Oh you know who we should ask? The new laboratory for respiratory coronavirus in Wuhan. The disease has the same name as the lab. That’s just a little too weird!’
On Monday, Stewart was how the reaction to what he thought was completely neutral was so extremely polarized.
“My bigger problem with that was I thought it was a pretty good piece that expressed how I felt, and the two things that came out of that were, I’m racist against Asian people, and how dare I join the alt -right,” he said.
“The part I don’t like about it is the absolute and the dismissive like ‘f–k you, I’m done with you. I will never forgive you, you have crossed an unforgivable line. You have expressed an opinion that is at odds with mine, or not mine,” he added.
“What was amazing to me, I think, was the anger.”