On Sunday, Last Week Tonight host John Oliver turned his attention to America’s limp-yet-still-alive coal industry, which Donald Trump promised to revitalize throughout his campaign. Seeing as how even competing powers like China think the president’s plan to bolster big coal in the hopes of generating jobs is foolhardy, Oliver and company couldn’t resist the opportunity to poke around. Not even after Murray Energy Corporation CEO Robert Murray sent the weekly HBO program a cease-and-desist letter when their research team began prodding them. A move that prompted Oliver to target the business executive.
Which is why, as The Daily Beast first reported, Murray is suing Oliver, the Last Week Tonight writers, HBO, and Time Warner for “[executing] a meticulously planned attempt to assassinate the character of and reputation of [himself] and his companies.” The official complaint, which was filed in the Marshall County, West Virginia circuit court on June 21, contends the defendants “did this to a man who needs a lung transplant, a man who does not expect to live to see the end of this case,” but nonetheless a man who “has built a strong reputation as one of the as one of the staunchest defenders and most ardent champions of the United States coal industry and America itself.” (As The Daily Beast describes this last quote, it reads “like it had been written by” Trump.)
The lawsuit isn’t all that surprising, as Murray has a penchant for suing news and media outlets that publish items critical of his enterprises. Oliver knew what he was getting into when he read Murray’s letter aloud on Sunday. The document threatened legal action against him for any attempts to “defame, harass, or otherwise injure” the CEO or his company’s character. “I have to proceed with caution,” Oliver told his viewers. “I’m not going to say, for instance, that Bob Murray looks like a geriatric Dr. Evil, even though he clearly does.”
(Via The Daily Beast)