Peabody Asks Judge To Remove Song Lyrics From Lawsuit
The song is called Paradise. Recorded in 1971 by folks musician John Prine. In it, he criticized Peabody Energy's mining practices in a Kentucky town called Paradise. It's now being used as a protest song in another coal mining town, Gillette Wyoming. In 2013, two Colorado activists were arrested there for demonstrating at Peabody shareholders meeting. That same day thousands of protestors showed up at Peabody's headquarters in St. Louis Missouri. Both groups were accusing the company of denying healthcare benefits to workers.
The Colorado activists sued the coal company for arresting them. Their lawyer, Darold Killmer, included John Prine's lyrics in the complaint. He told me it's to show that his clients aren't the only ones protesting the company and that if anyone criticizes Peabody, they "strike back hard and fast."
Peabody wants those lyrics taken out, saying in a statement, "Our filing reflects our belief that the case has no merit. and the plaintiffs are using the legal system to push an agenda."
So what is the meaning behind this song, Paradise, and why is it so controversial? I spoke with Eddie Huffman, who wrote a new bio of the musician called "John Prine: In Spite of Himself."