Television giveaways have always been a big draw-card for audiences.
Oprah Winfrey gave away cars and trips to Australia, Ellen Degeneres hosts her ’12 days of giveaways’ each year and gives numerous cash gifts to those in need. Because what’s better than seeing deserving people get a helping hand?
Well, not one to be beaten, John Oliver has just made television history.
The Last Week Tonight host, promised viewers he was about to out-Oprah Oprah with his giveaway before announcing he would forgive $20million AUD of debt for over 9,000 Americans.
Oliver says he and his team spent $50 to start a debt collecting company, which he called Central Asset Recovery Professionals, "Or CARP, after the bottom-feeding fish”.
The Guardian reported Oliver spent the segment investigating debt collectors who, "buy debt from banks for cents on the dollar. These predatory collectors attempt to recoup the debt they purchased using threats and other aggressive tactics without first verifying the exact details of the debt."
“Once the company has bought your debt, whether the information is accurate or not, they are going to try to collect on it,” Oliver explained.
“It is pretty clear by now [that] debt buying is a grimy business, and badly needs more oversight, because as it stands any idiot can get into it,” Oliver said. “And I can prove that to you, because I’m an idiot, and we started a debt-buying company. And it was disturbingly easy.”
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His company was offered $US14,922,261.76 in medical debt, which they bought for $60,000. And, because Oliver is a good human, he decided to immediately forgive the debt.
“Why not forgive it?” he asked. “Because on one hand, it’s obviously the right thing to do. But much more importantly, we’d be staging the largest one-time giveaway in television show history.”
Referring to that one time former daytime talk show Queen, Oprah, gave her entire audience a car, a giveaway worth approximately $11million AUD, Oliver assured the audience this would be the biggest giveaway ever seen on television.
That's right Oprah, you've been out done. And all for a worthy cause.