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A Squirrel-Obsessed Coal Czar Is Suing John Oliver, HBO, and Time Warner Over Last Week Tonight Segment

John Oliver. Photo: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver/HBO

Just as John Oliver predicted, he’s being sued by Trump pal and energy CEO Robert E. Murray. During Sunday’s Last Week Tonight segment on President Trump’s complicated relationship with coal and the mining industry, Murray — whom Oliver lovingly referred to as a “geriatric Dr. Evil” — was right in the host’s crosshairs. “Murray actually illustrates the divides that can exist between a coal company’s interests and those of its workers,” Oliver said, reporting that while Murray endlessly blasted Obama’s coal policy, he himself even admitted that there’s little Trump can do to return the industry to its heyday. There are other curious facts about Murray shared in the segment: He once said he founded his companies on the career advice of a squirrel, and has opposed legislation to make mining safer.

When the Last Week Tonight staff reached out to Murray, the show received its very first cease-and-desist letter, and now Murray and a number of his coal companies have filed a defamation suit in West Virginia Wednesday against Oliver, HBO, and Time Warner, according to Deadline. “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,” HBO said in a statement. The suit alleges a “meticulously planned attempt to assassinate the character and reputation” of Murray and his companies. See for yourself:

A Coal Czar Is Suing HBO Over a John Oliver Segment