The head honchos at HBO are apparently reading your tweets, and they are not happy about them. According to a report from Rolling Stone, a new wrongful termination lawsuit filed against HBO alleges that HBO CEO Casey Bloys instructed staffers to make secret social media accounts in order to clap back at critics of the premium cable network.
Per Rolling Stone, Bloys sent multiple texts asking HBO staffers to target critics—both professional writers and anonymous Deadline commenters. Some of the texts are included in material being compiled for a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by former HBO staffer Sully Temori against HBO, HBO senior vice president of drama programming Kathleen McCaffrey, HBO head of drama Francesca Orsi, The Idol’s Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye, and two other producers for The Idol.
According to the complaint, the plaintiff began working at HBO in 2015 as a temp and became an executive assistant in 2017. He worked on The Idol in August 2021 and was laid off in October 2021, the lawsuit says. Rolling Stone reports that Temori’s suit alleges that he was “harassed and faced retaliation and discrimination after disclosing a mental health diagnosis to his bosses.” According to Rolling Stone, lawyers representing HBO have requested that a judge dismiss Temori’s suit, with HBO denying “each and every allegation.”
Temori’s complaint claims that McCaffrey asked him to create fake accounts in 2020. Per texts being prepared for the complaint and reviewed by Rolling Stone, McCaffrey said that Bloys was “obsessed with Twitter,” and “always wants to pick a fight on Twitter.”
“He always texts me asking me to find friends to reply,” reads one of the messages from McCaffrey, according to Rolling Stone. “Is there a way to create a dummy account that can’t be traced to us to do his bidding?”
Per the report, the lawsuit also contains multiple text exchanges displaying what Temori’s attorney, Michael Martinez, calls the “very petty” culture at HBO. “They joke about people outside of HBO, they joke about people within HBO,” Martinez told Rolling Stone. “You suffer through some bullying until you can’t suffer anymore.”
As Rolling Stone reports, in 2020, when Bloys was HBO’s president of original programming, he allegedly became upset when Vulture television critic Kathryn VanArendonk tweeted about HBO’s Perry Mason, then in its first season. Bloys then reportedly ordered some staffers to “go on a mission” and fire back at VanArendonk. According to text messages reviewed by Rolling Stone, Bloys texted VanArendonk’s tweet to McCaffrey with an idea for a rebuttal. “Maybe a Twitter user should tweet that that’s a pretty blithe response to what soldiers legitimately go through on [the] battlefield,” read Bloys’s text. “Do you have a secret handle? Couldn’t we say especially given that it’s D-Day to dismiss a soldier’s experience like that seems pretty disrespectful…this must be answered!”
Bloys reportedly went on to text McCaffrey that they needed to find a “mole” at “arms length” from HBO’s executive team who was ready and willing to take on VanArendonk. Rolling Stone reported that the text exchange between Bloys and McCaffrey is one of six exchanges discussing firing back at Twitter critics that occurred between June 2020 and April 2021.