Coal company sues HBO’s John Oliver for defamation

John Oliver (AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Coal company Murray Energy is suing HBO and its Sunday-night host, John Oliver, for what it says was a “false and malicious broadcast” last Sunday evening.

Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” coal segment criticized the Trump administration’s effort to revive the industry, saying coal jobs have dropped for decades and other energy alternatives are driving the industry’s decline.

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He ribbed Murray Energy’s CEO Robert Murray, who blames regulatory efforts by the Obama administration for damaging the coal industry.

The Ohio company sued the comedian Wednesday afternoon in circuit court in West Virginia. It’s seeking financial damages and a court order barring rebroadcasts of the segment’s “defamatory statements.”

An HBO spokesman says the show didn’t violate Murray Energy’s rights or those of Murray.

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