Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Bob Murray, SLAPP suits, & more

John OliverOn the November 10 edition of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the HBO show brought up someone long forgotten: Bob Murray. It was a couple of years ago when Murray was a discussion point on the show amidst a larger discussion of the coal industry. Murray filed a lawsuit over the segment, but it was only recently that the coal executive decided to back away from the claim.

So why bring him back up tonight? Well, a lot of it had to do with a larger discussion about SLAPP lawsuits — suits that can put the defendant into a lot of anger and frustration. There are different views on them depending on the state; Oliver and HBO found themselves forced through a difficult legal process in West Virginia, one that took years to deal with and cost more than $200,000 when it was all said and done. They won and yet, there was a lot of work that went into it still. (John even noted that some of their insurance rates behind the scenes increased exponentially because of it.)

After what happened previously, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Oliver held nothing back throughout the episode — there are really more claims and joke-insults included than we can possibly list here.

As eventful as the segment was, we weren’t prepared for what we got at the end of the episode — a lengthy musical number in which Oliver proceeded to sing a number of ridiculous, over-the-top claims that would probably lead to him getting sued again. Yet, Oliver feels that he’s protected. Why is that? Well, it has to do with him making claims that no reasonable person would believe. Because of the satirical nature of this show, that means that there are all sorts of zany things that can be thrown out there.

(We should note that Last Week Tonight’s parent company got a letter from Murray’s attorneys before the show even started. In other words, there’s going to be a whole lot more moving forward.)

We recommend that you go watch this episode if you haven’t already — it’s a payoff for a story that has been years in the making.

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