HBO defends John Oliver after comedian gets sued for comments on coal industry
While SNL and The Late Night Show With Stephen Colbert is getting away with ridiculing the president of their country in a yuuge way, the same system seems to let businessmen attack those same programs.
As John Oliver talked about the problems surrounding the coal industry in the last segment of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, 77-year-old coal baron Robert Murray—along with Murray Energy and other associated coal companies — decided to sue the company for defamation, The Hollywood Reporter announced.
The suit alleges that Murray's reputation was harmed when Oliver claimed there was no evidence that an earthquake caused a 2007 mine collapse, with the implication that Murray had lied about the circumstance surrounding the deadly incident. The complaint further takes issue with Oliver's implications that Murray Energy sacrifices safety and employee health for monetary gain.
But it looks like the makers of the show, HBO and Time Warner are fully backing Oliver.
HBO put out a statement saying that it didn't think the Last Week Tonight violated Murray Energy's rights. The statement 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."
John Oliver had himself said on air, "Bob Murray, I didn’t really plan for so much of this piece to be about you, but you kind of forced my hand on that one. And I know you’re probably going to sue me over this. But, you know what? I stand by everything I said."
Here's the segment that John Oliver got sued over: