HBO CEO and CEO Casey Bloys apologized to television critics on Thursday for using fake Twitter accounts to respond to negative reviews of the HBO series, following a report on Wednesday that exposed Bloys’ past behavior.
“For those of you who know me, you know that I’m a programming executive who is very, very passionate about the shows that we decide to make. And the people who make them and the people who work on them,” Bloys said Thursday morning at the start of a presentation at HBO’s headquarters in New York, an event to promote the slate. Upcoming HBO and Max shows, which have been planned since Oct. 16. “I want the shows to be great. I want people to love them. I want you all to love them. It’s very important to me what you think of the shows. When you think about that, then you think It’s 2020 and 2021, I’m working from home and doing an unhealthy amount of Twitter browsing, and I came up with a really stupid idea to vent my frustration.
“Obviously six tweets over the course of a year and a half is not very effective,” Bloys continued. But I apologize to the people mentioned in the leaked emails and texts. Obviously, no one wants to be part of a story they have nothing to do with. But also, as many of you know, I’ve progressed over the last couple of years in using direct messaging. Now, when I take issue with something in a review, or take issue with something I see, many of you are kind enough to engage with me back and forth and I think that’s the healthiest way to do it. But we’ll talk more about that, and you can ask me anything you want in the Q&A. “I just wanted to put that out there.”
From there, the HBO president moved on to start the presentation with footage from the upcoming season of True Detective: Night Country.
Blues’ statements come one day later Rolling Stone published a story detailing a lawsuit filed against the CEO and HBO by former employee Sulley Teymori, who claims he was wrongfully terminated.
Although not included in the lawsuit itself, Rolling Stone pointed to alleged text messages in 2020 and 2021 between Bloys and SVP of Drama Programming Kathleen McCaffrey. In the alleged text exchanges, Bloys and McCaffrey repeatedly discussed responding to critics who spoke negatively about the HBO series, including “Perry Mason” and “Mare of Easttown,” using fake Twitter accounts. Rolling Stone says these text messages, provided by Temori, were reviewed and verified through her metadata.
Temori, who was at the time an executive assistant, claims he was instructed to create a Twitter account for these purposes, which he did and attributed to the fake person Kelly Shepherd (a vegan mother from Texas). Teymori sent out tweets from this account in response to critics’ negative reviews.
Additionally, Taymuri told Rolling Stone that he left anonymous comments on some Deadline articles in response to other users’ negative feedback about the HBO series and its executives, at Bloys’ request.
Also named in the lawsuit were filed by Timorese McCaffrey, HBO drama chief Francesca Orci, Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye and two producers on the now-canceled HBO drama “The Idol.” Taymori claims he was mistreated on the set of the series when he became script coordinator on the project in 2021, a position he was moved to from the role of executive assistant.
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