Fresh off his big wins at the Emmys for Last Week Tonight, John Oliver is building more buzz for the 2024 premiere of his HBO talk show, taunting Disney.
Now that Steamboat Willie’s version of Mickey Mouse is in the public domain, Oliver is freely using the character. Ahead of Oliver’s late-night show’s return in February, the show’s social media team shared an ad that features the host and a black-and-white Mickey Mouse.
More from Deadline
“What are they gonna do, sue?” reads the copy on the image.
The image shared on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, was captioned with, “We’re back February 18th, and we’re pretty sure this was an okay way to let you know about it!! Ya, probably fine.”
We’re back February 18th, and we’re pretty sure this was an okay way to let you know about it!! Ya, probably fine. pic.twitter.com/rcF5KweIZi
— Last Week Tonight (@LastWeekTonight) January 24, 2024
Oliver has been testing his limits with Disney featuring Mickey Mouse on his show, saying foul things. Mickey’s last appearance was on Last Week Tonight’s last original episode of 2023, which aired on Dec. 17.
“Did Disney ever sue us over that?” Oliver asked about using the public domain character as Mickey appeared in the background.
“Nope,” Mickey answered, with Oliver adding, “So, should we take that as a green light that we could do whatever we want in the future?”
“I don’t see why the f*** not,” Mickey adds.
Steamboat Willie entered the public domain last year, but only the black-and-white version of Mickey Mouse. Newer iterations of the character remain protected and can only be used by Disney alone for the time being.
Two horror pics using the Steamboat Willie character have been unveiled in recent months taking advantage that Mickey Mouse entered the public domain.
Best of Deadline