Danbury, Connecticut officially naming sewage plant after John Oliver following feud
The mayor and Oliver's late-night show have been trading barbs online for weeks
The town of Danbury, Conn. is officially naming a sewage plant after comedian John Oliver following weeks of lighthearted jabs.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton confirmed the news Friday on Twitter that the city’s new $110 million sewer plant will officially be named the John Oliver Memorial Sewer Plant. Per his promise, the city’s decision to actually go through with the naming means that the “Last Week Tonight” host will pay $55,000 in donations to local charities including the Connecticut Food Bank, Donors Choose and ALC Connecticut. In addition, he had HBO pay to build a sign for the outside of the plant with Oliver's name on it.
“Yup.. It's official the Danbury Sewer Plant is now the John Oliver Memorial Sewer Plant. - You're move John. Bam!” the mayor tweeted Thursday.
The City Council voted 18-1 Thursday night to rename the sewage plant after the comedian, who began a tongue-in-cheek battle with Danbury when he went on an expletive-filled rant against the city during one of his shows.
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Boughton didn’t waste any time responding on social media. He posted a video of himself at the sewage plant saying the city was going to name it after Oliver.
“Why?” the Republican mayor asked. “Because it’s full of crap just like you, John.”
However, Boughton later admitted he was just joking and that he didn’t spend taxpayer money to actually rename the plant after Oliver just because of some light jabs on TV. However, when Oliver heard of the mayor’s response as well as that of a handful of creative people who call Danbury home, he jokingly doubled down on his comments about the city and genuinely called for them to rename the plant after him, offering the charitable donations as a reward if it did.
“I didn’t know that I wanted my name on your (expletive) factory but now that you floated it as an option, it is all that I want,” Oliver said.
Boughton said Friday that the feud has been a good distraction from the coronavirus and other troubles of the times. He also said Oliver’s promised donations have helped spur local fundraising efforts for area food banks that could end up collecting a few hundred thousand dollars to feed needy families.
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The mayor added he will be offering tours of the sewer plant for $500 donations to local food pantries.
“I think it’s been a home run. It’s been a lot of fun,” Boughton told The Associated Press of the spat. “If I can put food on people’s table for Thanksgiving by naming a sewer plant after a very popular comedian, we’ll do it all day long.”
It’s still not clear why Oliver singled out Danbury for a tongue-lashing. He first brought up the city during an August segment on racial disparities in the jury selection process, citing problems in a few Connecticut towns from decades ago. He noted Danbury’s “charming railway museum” and its “historic Hearthstone Castle.”
“I know exactly three things about Danbury,” he said. “USA Today ranked it the second-best city to live in in 2015, it was once the center of the American hat industry and if you’re from there, you have a standing invite to come get a thrashing from John Oliver — children included — f--- you,” the comedian said at the time.
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So far, Oliver has yet to respond to the city’s decision. However, part of the mayor's response included a stipulation that Oliver come to the city to personally attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.