In the suit filed June 21, Murray claims Oliver and his writers “executed a meticulously planned attempt to assassinate the character of and reputation of Mr. Robert E. Murray and his companies,” in the most recent episode of the show.
On Sunday, Oliver took aim at Murray and his business practices in a segment that suggested the coal executive doesn’t do enough to protect his workers. Oliver also revealed that when “Last Week Tonight” representatives tried reaching out to Murray’s team for a comment, they received a cease-and-desist letter in response. The Brit even admitted he was expecting a lawsuit, as Murray has sued various news outlets, including The New York Times, in the past.
HBO stands by Oliver and the show’s writers.
“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 cable network said in a statement provided to HuffPost.
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.
Murray reportedly provided evidence of his claim in the form of reports, according to The Daily Beast, and alleges Oliver’s team chose to ignore it.
“Because Defendant Oliver omitted any mention of the other reports he was aware of that evidenced that an earthquake caused the collapse, as Mr. Murray correctly stated following the collapse, Defendant Oliver’s presentation intentionally and falsely implied that there is no such evidence,” the complaint says, per The Daily Beast.
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 is suing for one count each of defamation, false light invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress, according to The Washington Post.