John Oliver knows his comedic and social commentary powers as host of “Last Week Tonight,” and he doesn't back down from any stance that he believes in, especially when old-school energy barons are trying to beat him. Everyone knows that John Oliver makes everyone fair game for getting skewered on his riotous rotisserie every night. This past Sunday, Oliver insisted “it had to be done” as he prepared Murray Energy Corporation CEO, Robert E Murray, for the hot coals of his comic sizzle. Despite being under the restrictions of a “cease-and-desist” order, John Oliver spoke what he thought, and showed it, too, in a certain creature’s costume.

Yesterday, Murray sued Oliver from West Virginia courts, along with HBO and Time Warner, asserting that the host, his network, and the 134 million paid subscribers were part of character assassination. Some people can’t take a joke or any form of a differing opinion.

No secret agendas here

As with fellow late-night comedic commanders, such as Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, and many other well-established hosts of other networks, the socio-political views of John Oliver are hardly hidden in an underground bunker. Maher recently made a very needed and public apology for an unplanned blurt so much better left unsaid with Senator Ben Sasse. Oliver refuses to tread lightly in areas of public information which spark a particular passion, and beyond anything political, the safety record, or rather the lack of safety protection at all, by the Murray enterprises, was worthy of outcry.

Catastrophes and costume

Robert E Murray is now 77, and said to be “gravely ill.” His complaint is purported to be his own attempt “to set the record straight,” with the assertion that he has never been so oppressed or upset as with “this vicious and untruthful attack.” John Oliver referred to Murray as “a geriatric Dr. Evil” in his segment, which particularly played on the tragic mine collapse at Crandall Canyon, Utah in 2007.

Six miners were trapped and later declared dead, along with three rescue workers. Mine inspectors had 325 citations recorded regarding safety and supervision. Murray persisted in being an adamant defender of his corporation’s record, and decried policies of the Obama administration as an “evil agenda.”

Understandably, the coal Titan has been tight with the Trump administration in its support for “clean coal,” dubious by definition, and returning a portion of coal industry jobs.

Murray has frequently testified on behalf of the industry and his corporation before Congress. It is widely felt that “retreat mining” in which the last pillars of coal are mined, leaving the shafts and roofs to fall, is a direct cause of such disasters as the one in Utah.

In a final stab that only cable or Saturday Night Live could dare, John Oliver made reference to a description of a squirrel from an article in the United Mine Workers of America Journal that portrayed a squirrel hopping onto Murray's porch and declaring that the executive should run his own mines. A feisty giant squirrel then appeared, darting here and there around the stage.

John Oliver didn't need a premonition for what he said next.

“You're probably going to sue me over this. But, you know what? I stand by everything I said,” affirmed the host. He also stated that Murray’s record “kinda forced my hand on this one.” Now, the lawyers can do the talking. Bets are that John Oliver and his legions of late-night fans will be staying put and not losing much of their share in dollars or ratings anytime soon.J