Coal baron sues John Oliver for anti-coal segment

In the Friday episode, Oliver blasted the coal company for a deadly mine collapse in Utah that killed nine people.
By Kara Menard | Jun 24, 2017
Comedian John Oliver is facing a slander lawsuit from the owner of the largest privately owned coal company in the United States for remarks the comedian made about Murray on his television show, Last Week Tonight, last Friday. Robert E. Murray of Murray Energy Corporation filed a suit June 21 in the circuit court of Marshall County, West Virginia, alleging 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."

In the Friday episode, Oliver blasted the coal company for a deadly mine collapse in Utah that killed nine people. Oliver accused Murray of ignoring safety regulations that would have prevented the collapse and of misleading the public about the lack of safety standards in his mines.

And Oliver told his audience during the segment that he expected he would get a lawsuit for his words. He noted that Murray has filed lawsuits against other media outlets in the past, most recently the New York Times, which he sued in May over an editorial about the same mine collapse.

The comedian also said that his team had contacted Murray's company prior to the episode airing, and that the company responded with a cease-and-desist letter. It is reportedly the first time that this has ever happened to his show.

Murray also took on the Obama administration in court several times over its efforts to regulate air pollution and greenhouse-gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. The coal executive is an outspoken Republican who has openly urged his employees to donate to Republican candidates. One shift foreman that he fired recently took him to court, alleging that he fired her only after she refused to make campaign contributions to the GOP.


Have something to say? Let us know in the comments section or send an email to the author. You can share ideas for stories by contacting us here.

Comments should take into account that readers may hold different opinions. With that in mind, please make sure comments are respectful, insightful, and remain focused on the article topic.