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The 'Last Week Tonight' host addressed the coal baron who dropped a lawsuit against the HBO show (for a 2017 episode in which Oliver joked that he looked like "a geriatric Dr. Evil") and introduced new claims of sexual misconduct allegations against Murray.
John Oliver took on lawsuits during Sunday's episode of Last Week Tonight.
"Lawsuits. The reason that the sentence 'Greta Thunberg allegedly killed Jeffrey Epstein' has the word 'allegedly' in it," the comedian explained.
Oliver explained that the topic of lawsuits was on his mind because the suit that coal tycoon Bob Murray had previously filed against him was now dropped. Back in 2017, Murray sued Last Week Tonight over a segment in which Oliver joked that he looked like "a geriatric Dr. Evil." The host stood by the comments and said, "Which we did and he does." The show also arranged "for a staff member to dress up in a squirrel costume and deliver the message, 'Eat shit, Bob.'"
"Murray's lawsuit against us asked for damages because he claimed that nothing has ever stressed him more than our 'vicious and awful attack,'" Oliver continued. "Which is an odd thing to say, given that, as I just mentioned, he oversaw a company whose mine collapse in Utah resulted in the deaths of nine people."
The case was initially dismissed, though Murray appealed the decision to the West Virginia Supreme Court. To Oliver's dismay, one of the judges on the case was Allen Loughry, whom the host made fun of in a 2015 episode of Last Week Tonight. After Loughry and three other Supreme Court justices were impeached for inappropriate spending and the case was not heard, Murray offered to drop the suit at the same time Murray Energy was filing for bankruptcy.
Oliver later shared that he believed Murray's goal wasn't to win the case, but instead for it to be a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) suit. Oliver added, "The whole point is to put the defendant through a difficult, painful experience."
While 20 states have anti-SLAPP laws that require plaintiffs to justify their earlier claims, West Virginia does not follow the particular law. "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?"' he joked.
Oliver's point about the effect of SLAAP suits segued into Oliver's reveal the Last Week Tonight team uncovered multiple sexual misconduct allegations against Murray while researching for the latest episode, suits that have gone uncovered in the media. The coal tycoon denied the claims, and Oliver admitted that by bringing to light the allegations in the episode, the show risked being sued again.
"Here we go again," said 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."
Oliver concluded the segment with a musical number. Joined by a man playing piano, Oliver recapped the case through song. "Even though he'll threaten legal Armageddon, we have just one tiny thing to say," he sang. "Bob Murray can go fuck himself today."
The host then introduced the "Suck My Ball, Bob" dancers, who sang claims against Murray. Some of the joke allegations included that Murray spit on the Mona Lisa at The Louvre and that he shot a rocket full of puppies into outer space.
"If we discuss Bob Murray in a way no reasonable person could strew as factual, we could say whatever the fuck we'd like," said Oliver before he led the dancers to the street. Once outside, the performers were joined by pedestrians as they continued to make outrageous claims against Murray.
The musical number concluded with the performers taking over Times Square as they enthusiastically sang, "Eat shit, Bob!"