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Broadcasting & Cable
Broadcasting & Cable
Daniel Frankel

HBO Chief Casey Bloys Set Up Fake Twitter Accounts To Troll Critics: Report

Casey Bloys HBO.

HBO chairman and CEO Casey Bloys had secret bogus social media accounts set up to respond to TV critics who tweeted out reviews of HBO programming he didn't like, according to a damning Rolling Stone report published Wednesday. 

Based on testimony stemming from a former HBO employee's wrongful termination suit against HBO, the article details how Bloys delegated subordinates to target certain critics on Twitter (recently rebranded as “X”)

According to the report, in June 2020, while then serving as HBO programming chief, Bloys became "irked" at Vulture critic Kathryn VanArendonk after she shared her thoughts on X about HBO's reboot of Perry Mason.

“Dear prestige TV,” she tweeted. “Please find some way to communicate male trauma besides showing me a flashback to the hero’s memories of trench warfare.”

Bloys allegedly sent the tweet to Kathleen McCaffrey, HBO's senior VP of drama programming, remarking, “Maybe a Twitter user should tweet that that’s a pretty blithe response to what soldiers legitimately go through on [the] battlefield. Do you have a secret handle?

"Who can go on a mission?" Bloys is reported to have also asked. 

The Penske Media Group publication reported that McCaffrey enlisted the help of former executive assistant Sully Temori, plaintiff in the aforementioned lawsuit, to set up a fake X account to clandestinely post Bloys’s message:

“A somewhat elitist take,” it read. “Is there anything more traumatic for men (and now women) than fighting in a war. Sorry if that seems too convenient for you.” 

According to Rolling Stone, which spoke to Temori's attorney, Michael Martinez, the VanArendonk response was one of at least six instances between 2020 and 2021 — before Bloys was promoted to the HBO chief executive position — in which the executive is said to have orchestrated covert responses to tweets or Deadline story comments he didn't like.

(Martinez went on in Rolling Stone to allege a larger “harassing and discriminatory” culture at HBO. Perusing the lawsuit, however, the best example of what his client had to endure was allegedly being coerced (asked?) by his former bosses in the HBO drama department to play with some rescue kittens.)

In a statement provided to Next TV, HBO said it intends to fight Temori's suit, which names not only HBO and McCaffrey, but also  Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye and two other producers for quickly canceled HBO series The Idol. (Temori had been promoted from his assistant role to production staffer on the failed show ... which HBO probably can't run away from fast enough at this point.)

The statement doesn’t deny Rolling Stone's description of Bloys’s alleged social media campaign, however.

“HBO intends to vigorously defend against Mr. Temori’s allegations,’ the statement reads. “We are not going to comment on select exchanges between programmers and errant tweets. We look forward to a full and fair resolution of this dispute. In the meantime, we wish Mr. Temori, a former HBO employee, well in his future endeavors.”

According to HBO insiders, Bloys is expected to address the fake tweet allegations head-on Thursday morning when he presents HBO’s coming program slate to TV writers in New York.

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