HBO‘s Casey Bloys is due to speak to reporters on Thursday about the allegations that he orchestrated the use of burner Twitter accounts to argue with critics online.
“HBO intends to vigorously defend against Mr. Temori’s allegations. We are not going to comment on select exchanges between programmers and errant tweets,” a spokesperson for HBO told TheWrap, referring to the suit filed by Sully Temori. “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.”
The alleged practice was unearthed by Rolling Stone in a new article that involves an ongoing wrongful termination dispute. According to text exchanges that were reviewed by the publication, during at least six instances that occurred between June 2020 and April 2021, Bloys and senior vice president of programming Kathleen McCaffrey used what they referred to as a “secret army” to argue with TV critics both on Twitter and in the comments sections of Hollywood trade publications such as Deadline.
All of the comments had to do with either HBO’s programming or leadership. A review of Joss Whedon’s “The Nevers,” the cancellation of Vicky Jones’ “Run,” stray thoughts on Rolin Jones and Ron Fitzgerald’s “Perry Mason” and the announcement of Bridgett Everett’s “Somebody Somewhere” were among the projects mentioned by these burner accounts, according to the Rolling Stone article.
Some of the TV critics who were targeted included the New York Times’ James Poniewozik and Mike Hale, Rolling Stone’s Alan Sepinwall and Vulture’s Kathryn VanArendonk.
The messages are part of a large batch of material from a wrongful termination lawsuit that is set to be filed. The lawsuit will be filed on behalf of Sully Temori, a previous temp for the company who became an executive assistant in 2017. The suit will state that Temori was harassed and faced retaliation and discrimination after disclosing his mental health diagnosis to his bosses.
It also alleges that Temori was asked to perform tasks that were not related to his job. That’s where the tweets and comments come into play.
HBO, WarnerMedia, Kathleen McCaffrey and HBO’s head of drama Francesca Orsi will all be named in the lawsuit. Additionally, Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye and two producers for “The Idol” — the show Temori worked on from August of 2021 until his termination that same year — will be named in the suit.
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