Ohio coal company sues HBO's John Oliver for defamation


British talkshow presenter John Oliver is being sued by a coal executive for his mockery of him during an episode of Last Week Tonight. Oliver pointed out that a government report determined the collapse was due to unauthorized mining practices and noted that Murray blamed it on an quake.

Murray Engergy Corp., the largest coal company in the USA, has filed a defamation suit in West Virginia against Oliver, his "Last Week Tonight" program, HBO and Time Warner on behalf of the coal company's CEO, Bob Murray.

"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", the complaint said. Now, with a defamation suit filed in West Virginia yesterday against Oliver, HBO and by Robert E. Murray and a number of his coal companies, the host's bosses are staking their own claim in his defense.

Oliver noted on the show that Murray Energy has a litigious past, and last month sued the New York Times for libel.

Oliver ignored statements sent from spokespeople, the suit says, which show an natural disaster triggered the collapse-and then neglected to mention "the efforts Mr. Murray personally made to save the trapped miners".

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Oliver said in the episode, "I know that you are probably going to sue me, but you know what, I stand by everything I said".

"In carrying out their self-serving attack on Mr. Murray and his companies, however, Defendants ignored facts in their possession that directly contradict the false and defamatory statements about Mr. Murray and his companies that they improperly passed off as truths to the nation and throughout the world", the complaint states. Bob Murray, CEO of Murray Energy Corp, had his lawyers fire off the letter in an attempt to prevent Oliver from airing the deep dive into the restoration of coal jobs, and who exactly benefits from that movement.

Murray is aggressively litigious, having also recently sued The New York Times for libel, two local OH newspapers and a writer for the Huffington Post. Murray had previously sent the show its first cease-and-desist letter.

The complaint also reportedly claims Murray's website was hacked and his health declined after the show aired, "likely further reducing his already limited life expectancy due to his Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis".

Murray Energy also said it received "numerous harassing telephone calls", including from callers who simply said: "Eat Sh*t, Bob". The comedian tore into the coal industry in general, and mocked Murray specifically. The company accused Oliver's show of displaying a "reckless disregard" for the accuracy of the quoted material.