Three days after roasting a West Virginia coal baron, John Oliver faces legal fire over his “Last Week Tonight” episode.“The suit, filed on June 21 in the circuit court of Marshall County, West Virginia, holds that Oliver and his team ‘executed a meticulously planned attempt to assassinate the character of and reputation of Mr. Robert E. Murray and his companies’ by airing an episode that ripped into him,” said The Daily Beast, which broke the story.
“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.
The Daily Beast noted that Oliver contacted Murray’s company before the episode aired, and “the company sent a cease-and-desist letter ––the first time that had ever happened to his show.”
HBO stood by Oliver and the show’s writers, sending a statement to Huffington Post that said: “We have confidence in the staff of ‘Last Week Tonight’ and do not believe anything in the show this week violated Mr. Murray’s or Murray Energy’s rights.”
“The main problem Murray seems to have with Oliver’s segment is that he brought up the collapse of one of Murray’s mines in Utah, which claimed the lives of nine people. Oliver pointed out that a government report determined the collapse was due to unauthorized mining practices and noted that Murray blamed it on an earthquake,” HuffPost said.
Murray is suing for one count each of defamation, false light invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress, according to The Washington Post.
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