OH, NOES! HBO is in so much trouble, you guys! John Oliver made mean words on teevee about the company that buried six coalminers alive, and it really hurt that poor coal CEO's feelings! Per WaPo,

The lawsuit, filed in West Virginia circuit court, accuses Oliver of carrying out a “meticulously planned attempt to assassinate the character and reputation” of Murray and broadcasting false statements about his company to HBO’s 134 million paying subscribers.

The goal is to allow Murray, who is said to be gravely ill, to “set the record straight,” the complaint says.

“Nothing has ever stressed him more than this vicious and untruthful attack,” it says, adding that Oliver’s segment was an attempt to advance “biases against the coal industry” and “disdain for the coal-related policies of the Trump Administration.”

Yes, 24 minutes of ribbing on Oliver's "Last Week Tonight" gave a grownass businessman the vapors, and thus the court should please give him more money now.

We know it's hard to remember anything that happened before the Visigoths descended on Washington 152 days ago, so let's recap. Once upon a time there was a kindly old grandpappy named Bob Murray who owned some coal mines. In addition to be being a jerb creator, Bob Murray stuck up for the working man's right to go several hundred feet underground without a personal tracking device. Because Bob knew that safety regulations were as "un-American" as Hillary Clinton.

Murray's Crandall Canyon mine in Utah had been cited for numerous safety violations, and on March 10, 2007, part of it collapsed. But Bob Murray and the mine operators decided that the law saying they had to report that little setback to the Mine Health and Safety Administration was also "un-American." PROBABLY. So, they patched it up and sent the fellas back in to dig some more fossilized carbon out of the ground and liberate it into the skies as God intended.

On August 6, the mine collapsed inward, trapping six miners. Three rescue workers were later killed trying to reach them.

This made Bob Murray feel sad.

Had I known that this evil mountain, this alive mountain, would do what it did, I would never have sent the miners in here. I'll never go near that mountain again.

Unlike the miners, who will spend eternity "in here" because their bodies were never recovered.

At first, seismographers registered the earthquake and speculated that it might have caused the collapse. But they quickly realized that the collapse had caused the earthquake, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.

"It was not -- and I repeat, it was not -- a naturally occurring earthquake," said the government's top mine safety official, Richard E. Stickler.

Murray Energy like the first version better, though. A Congressional Committee investigated and debunked the earthquake story, Murray and the other mine executives all pled the Fifth, the company paid over $1 million in fines and settled with the families of the nine dead men for more than $20 million. But still, Murray has spent the last decade insisting that it was all the fault of that evil mountain, not the company's shitty safety practices.

Also, too, Murray Energy has spent a decade harassing media outlets with junk lawsuits for libel and defamation when they write about those shitty safety policies. Which is a great strategy for burying the story! Like, we will not add, nine miners.

Before Oliver's segment, Murray sent HBO a cease and desist letter. Reports that the company also mailed red flags to a bull could not be independently verified.

“Bob Murray, I didn’t really plan for so much of this piece to be about you, but you kinda forced my hand on that one,” Oliver said. “And I know you’re probably going to sue me over this. But, you know what? I stand by everything I said.”

Oliver called Murray "a geriatric Doctor Evil" and accused him of being "on the same side as black lung." And he lampooned a 2001 story about the time Bob Murray got important career advice from a squirrel.

The way Murray tells it, he had just been let go in 1987 as CEO of North American Coal Company and was feeling extremely down about the whole situation. At home one day, Murray was sitting on his back porch, contemplating his future, when he was approached by a squirrel. Murray says the squirrel hopped up next to him, looked him square in the eye and said “Bob Murray, you should be operating your very own mines.” Unfortunately for UMWA miners, this seemingly intelligent rodent wasn’t too keen on fairness, so it neglected to add the words “and make sure you treat your workers the way you would want to be treated.”

True story? Only Bob Murray and the squirrel know for sure! But it did make for some good television.

Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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