Friday, June 23, 2017

Coal magnate sues satirist John Oliver for defamation over Sunday segment on mining

Robert Murray
Coal magnate Robert Murray is suing John Oliver, the writers of his show Last Week Tonight, Home Box Office and Time Warner for defamation over a segment of Sunday's episode in which Oliver allegedly singled out Murray for failing to protect the safety of his miners.

One of Murray's mines in Utah recently collapsed, killing nine workers, Elias Leight of Rolling Stone notes.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, alleges that Oliver "executed a meticulously planned attempt to assassinate the character of and reputation of Mr. Robert E. Murray and his companies." Murray sued for one count each of defamation, false light invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress, Leight reports.

"Oliver predicted that this would happen during his Last Week Tonight segment, noting that Murray has a history of suing media outlets who write unflattering stories about his business enterprises. In addition, Oliver said that when his show reached out to Murray for comment before airing Monday's episode, the coal mogul responded immediately with a cease-and-desist letter. When that failed to work, Murray – self-described as 'one of the staunchest defenders and most ardent champions of the United States coal industry and America itself' – followed with a suit," Leight explains.

Murray accuses Oliver of ignoring evidence that the Utah mine collapse was caused by an earthquake, though a government report determined the cause to be unauthorized mining practices, Leight writes. An HBO spokesperson seemed unconcerned by Murray's suit: "While we have not seen the complaint, 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."

No comments: