Jay Leno Compares Russian Olympics to Nazi Germany

Jay Leno Last Man Standing
Rodrigo Vaz/FilmMagic

With his departure from NBC’s “Tonight Show” approaching, Jay Leno isn’t holding back. The comedian is making headlines after his Monday night interview with his guest, “Today’s” Meredith Vieira, in which he compared the upcoming Sochi Olympics to Nazi Germany because of Russia’s anti-gay law.

In the interview, Vieira began by saying that she and the “Today” team had “mixed feelings” about covering the event because of “the stuff going on in Russia with [President Vladimir] Putin and the anti-gay legislation.” At the end of the back-and-forth discussions, they opted to cover the games after they decided the Olympics are about the athletes. Though Vieira did mention that she hopes people continue to demonstrate in protest. Leno, however, took the discussion one stronger step further with a controversial comparison.

“I don’t know how [Russia’s law is] different from — I mean, this is how it started in Nazi Germany — ‘Oh, the Jews, let’s put them over here,’” Leno said. “It makes me uncomfortable.” Germany hosted the Olympic Games in 1936.

In 2011, NBC agreed to pay approximately $4 billion to the International Olympic Committee for exclusive broadcasting rights for the 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020 Olympics. It was the most expensive television rights deal in Olympic history.

Next year NBC will promote Jimmy Fallon as Leno’s “Tonight Show” successor. But with potential backlash about Russia’s anti-gay laws, the network is facing the risk of making viewers “uncomfortable.”

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  1. Hello Kitty says:

    Interesting how India just passed anti-gay legislation and not a peep from those criticizing Russia. Obama’s snub to the Russians by not going and the US bending over backward to apologize to India over the treatment of one its diplomats happened at the same time and on some cable news networks during the same show.

  2. sam cohen says:

    Leno is right in his comparison of Nazi Germany to gays being banned. no it wont hurt viewing .

  3. Dwain says:

    Bull pucky.
    Anti-homosexual is not the same as Nazi Germany. The anti-homosexual law is the right thing to do.
    Nazi-Germany was ethnic cleansing… anyone who wasn’t German was at risk of deletion.
    Big difference… there is no death penalty involved here. Just good common sense.

  4. Remarkably hypocritical they were not going to lose the millions in advertising. There are a lot of things wrong with our country and we corrected many, but lets not forget that during the second world war we still treated blacks as second rate citizens while we criticized Hitler and other Fascists and today we are on a fast track to fascism. Cover the damned Olympics and endure the low ratings. Americans have a lot more to worry about than watching rich kids slide in the snow.

  5. Pedro Zozaya says:

    In the West always lie about Russia. For example, now fashionable to lie about homosexuals.

    Homosexuality in Russia is not prohibited. This law protects children. Russia has imposed fines (small money) for the “promotion of homosexuality AMONG CHILDREN.” Citizens of other countries can be arrested for 15 days (before deportation). Nobody homosexuals does not put outlaws. They can even “propagandize”, but among adults.

    In the West, especially in recent years, fomenting “anti-Russian hysteria”. Enough constantly lie and manipulate facts!

  6. John Shea says:

    Maybe we need a latter-day Jesse Owens?

  7. Tyrone Smith says:

    The 1936 games in Nazi Germany invented the Olympic torch. It has no connection to ancient Greece. Why is it still used?

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