Ailing coal CEO sues Oliver over ‘Last Week’ segment
The CEO of the nation’s largest coal company filed a defamation suit Thursday against HBO star John Oliver, claiming the “Last Week Tonight” host “demeaned and disparaged” him, his miners, and the entire coal industry during a segment that aired last Sunday.
In the segment, Mr. Oliver — who has denounced the oil industry and President Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. from the Paris climate accord — attacked the coal sector and specifically took aim at Robert Murray, a 77-year-old former miner and the country’s most vocal coal champion.
“An honest conversation about coal and its miners needs to be had,” Mr. Oliver said during the segment, before going on to question the way Murray Energy responded to a 2007 mine collapse that killed six miners.
Expecting a lawsuit, Mr. Oliver closed the segment by holding up a fake check that read “Eat sh*t Bob!” and included the phrase “kiss my ass” in the memo. The HBO host also referred to Mr. Murray as a “geriatric Dr. Evil.”
In its lawsuit, Murray Energy charged that the segment was both unfair to the coal industry and hurtful to Mr. Murray, whose health is declining.
“They 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,” reads the lawsuit, filed in Marshall County, West Virginia, court.
In response, an HBO spokesperson told USA Today that the company does “not believe anything in the show this week violated Mr. Murray’s or Murray Energy’s rights.”
Murray Energy, a coal company, has filed a defamation suit against comedian John Oliver (left) because of a segment it aired on his HBO show, “Last Week Tonight.” The segment criticized CEO Robert Murray.