Robert E. Murray is a West Virginian coal baron. Bob is the sleazy chief executive of mining giant, Murray Energy Corporation, also in Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. Bob does not keep his mines up to code and allows collapses which ultimately lead to tragedy. It’s more cost effective for evil overlords like Bob to pay fines for safety violations – and the occasional legal settlement – than actually keep miners safe and the mines up to code. In June, John Oliver ripped Murray a new one.
In a 24-minute segment on the decline of the coal industry and President Trump’s campaign promises to bring it back, Oliver gave Murray, who has blamed the industry’s troubles on an “evil agenda” by President Barack Obama in the past, a good tongue lashing. Oliver said Murray was a “geriatric Dr. Evil,” who mistreated his employees and tried to weaken coal safety regulations through litigation. He suggested Murray was “on the same side as black lung.” He did this with the help of a human-sized squirrel named Mr. Nutterbutter. Mr. Nutterbutter wasn’t cute and fluffy – he told Murray, “Eat shit, Bob.”
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Poor Bob got really butthurt over the segment. He’s very familiar with court cases from prior experience and filed a defamation suit against HBO. The case was filed in West Virginia circuit court. Jamie Lynn Crofts of the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia filed a brief in the case. It is a hysterical piece of legal writing. The hilarity begins right away with the section headings:
- Anyone Can Legally Say, “Eat Shit, Bob!”
- Plaintiff’s Motion for a Restraining Order is Ridiculous. Courts Can’t Tell Media Companies How to Report, Bob.
- All of John Oliver’s Speech Was Protected by the First Amendment. You Can’t Sue People for Being Mean to You, Bob.
- Plaintiff’s Requested Injunction Is Clearly Unconstitutional. You Can’t Get a Court Order Telling the Press How to Cover Stories, Bob.
The entire brief is worth reading – take the time, for real, because you will love it. Another part of the amicus brief reads,
And with regard to the Dr. Evil remark, it should be noted that truth is an absolute defense to a claim of defamation.
THEN, she displays the following pictures:
Can’t you just hear Murray in the Dr. Evil voice saying, “Give me 10 MILLION dollars or I’ll collapse that mine”?
She is my hero today. I think we can all agree that it took moxy to tell Bob what a whiny ass he truly is – she may find herself on a different side of the next brief.
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