John Oliver Picks a New Battle With Coal Boss He Referred to as ‘a Geriatric Dr. Evil’ on Final Week Tonight
On the newest episode of Final Week Tonight, John Oliver needs to have a phrase about lawsuits. You realize, lawsuits, “the reason that the sentence ‘Greta Thunberg allegedly killed Jeffrey Epstein’ has the word ‘allegedly‘ in it,” the comic defined.
The explanation lawsuits have been on Oliver’s thoughts is as a result of the go well with coal tycoon Bob Murray had filed towards him had been dropped, and in line with Oliver, “It’s a crazy story.” As it’s possible you’ll recall, Murray had sued Last Week Tonight over a 2017 section through which they joked that he appeared like “a geriatric Dr. Evil” — “which we did and he does,” Oliver doubled down — and that the present organized “for a staff member to dress up in a squirrel costume and deliver the message, ‘Eat sh**, Bob,‘” which in addition they did.
Along with looking for a large sum of cash, the lawsuit additionally sought a gag order to stop the community from rebroadcasting the present or having the episode obtainable on-line. The case was initially dismissed, however Murray appealed to the West Virginia Supreme Court docket. In a shock twist, one of many judges set to listen to the case was Allen Loughry, whom Oliver occurred to have skewered in a 2015 episode of his present. However fortunately for Oliver, Loughry, together with three different state Supreme Court docket justices, have been impeached over inappropriate spending and by no means heard the case. Murray later provided to drop the go well with, which Oliver notes was simply across the identical time that Murray’s coal firm, Murray Vitality, was reorganizing into chapter 11. Though the go well with was dropped, Oliver famous that the lawsuit ended up costing over $200,000 in authorized charges and resulted in a tripling of the present’s libel insurance coverage premiums.
Oliver instructed the viewers that he believes “winning the case was never really [Murray’s] goal.” As an alternative, it was a so-called SLAPP go well with, with SLAPP being an acronym for a “strategic lawsuit against public participation;” in different phrases, a lawsuit supposed to punish and intimidate critics. “The whole point is to put the defendant through a difficult, painful experience,” Oliver stated. Such fits can be utilized as a scare tactic to silence journalists in addition to citizen activists.
SLAPP fits are a scourge, in line with Oliver, so 30 states have anti-SLAPP legal guidelines that require plaintiffs to justify their claims early on, and if they’ll’t, fits are dropped and defendants could be awarded attorneys’ charges. “Unfortunately, 20 states don’t have those laws,” Oliver stated, together with West Virginia, which is the place Murray sued Oliver, even though neither of them reside there. “Lawsuits like his make people think twice before reporting on his business or pointing things out like the fact that Bob Murray’s general facial expression answers the question, ‘What would it look like if an egg was mentally undressing you?” Oliver joked.
Because the Final Week Tonight staff was researching Murray once more, they uncovered what they consider are critical allegations of sexual misconduct towards Murray. Murray denies the allegations, and Oliver admits that by airing them Murray will more than likely sue them once more, however they felt it was within the public curiosity to do it anyway.
“Here we go again,” stated Oliver. “It is yet another Bob Murray attempt to bully people into silence and he has been doing this for decades. I will stand behind our first piece and I will stand behind this one.”
Since Murray was more than likely already going to sue the present, Oliver determined to exit in a blaze of glory. Particularly, with an outrageously bawdy, hilarious tune crammed with lewd jibes on the coal boss. And sure, there was a large squirrel concerned as soon as once more.