John Oliver slams the British Museum and mentions the Parthenon Sculptures: “Nine times out of ten, missing artifacts are there”

John Oliver Parthenon Sculptures Parthenon Marbles British Museum

On the day that Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said to the “Sunday Times” that he intends to once again strongly urge his new British counterpart Liz Truss to return the Parthenon Sculptures, one of on HBO’s most popular shows pointed out the thievery of the British Museum.

With his familiar caustic height, the well-known British comedian John Oliver dedicated the majority of the “Tonight with John Oliver” show, which scores high ratings, to the permanent Greek demand for the return of the ancient Greek Sculptures.

He clearly spoke of theft, while blasting the British Museum for its policies and for the arguments it uses from time to time in order not to return the stolen archaeological treasures it houses to the countries where they belong.

To kick off the segment, Oliver first called up sculptures that are housed at the Acropolis Museum in Greece. He noted that, in some sculptures, pieces of them are very white compared to the rest of the piece, because missing pieces have been filled in by plaster.

“If you are ever looking for a missing artifact, nine times out of 10 it’s in the British Museum,” he pointed out. “It’s basically the world’s largest ‘lost and found,’ with both ‘lost’ and ‘found’ in the heaviest possible quotation marks there.”

“They weren’t lost. They were taken, which is clearly worse. It’s like being unable to find the last puzzle piece and learning that you didn’t actually misplace it,” he said. “A British earl snuck into your house, stole it, and then sold it to a museum over 1,000 miles away.”

Oliver slammed the “unbelievably patronising” arguments of those who defend the British Museum and other repositories of stolen goods. Some claim the objects were taken in a different time ― and that means there’s a different context to consider.

But, as Oliver pointed out, British Prime Minister William Gladstone in 1868 said he “deeply lamented” objects looted from Ethiopia by the British Army and called for their return.

“He was saying that in 1868!” Oliver said. “We didn’t even know how to fix a UTI without leeches back then, but we knew that raiding other countries for their shit was ‘deeply lamentable,’ which is British for ‘super fucked up.’”

John Oliver spoke at length about the global problem of exhibiting stolen antiquities in major museums. To demonstrate the magnitude of the problem, he presented the results of a French survey according to which 90% – 95% of African cultural heritage is outside Africa!

READ MORE: Greek magnate launches Parthenon Project to wine and dine British MP’s in lobbying effort.