Casey Bloys, the CEO of HBO, issued an apology on Thursday for ordering employees to respond to TV criticism online in an anonymous manner, branding the move as a “very dumb idea.”
Text communications seized in the course of a lawsuit brought by former HBO executive assistant Sully Temori were used by Rolling Stone to publish a story on Wednesday. The messages showed Bloys requesting that staff members harass detractors for posting negative social media evaluations of HBO and Max material.
“I have progressed over the last couple of years to DMs,” Bloys said Thursday at the HBO and Max 2024 Slate Presentation in New York. “When I take issue with something, I DM you. Many of you are gracious enough to engage in a back-and-forth with me.”
The Text Messages
Bloys said that the texts, which were sent in 2020 and 2021, were from his “spending an unhealthy amount of time scrolling Twitter” while he was at home during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Temori filed the case in July 2023, claiming that HBO had not made a reasonable effort to accommodate him and that he had experienced harassment and discrimination during his employment. Retaliation and wrongful termination are also claimed.
“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 said. “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 the publication, Bloys targeted reporters including Rolling Stone’s lead TV reviewer Alan Sepinwall and Kathryn VanArendonk, a critic for Vulture, a publication of New York Magazine. Following VanArendonk’s series of negative tweets about HBO’s “Perry Mason” before the show debuted, Bloys allegedly became “annoyed” and composed a text message that finally made its way onto the internet through a “mole,” according to Rolling Stone.
Additionally, according to Rolling Stone, Bloys took issue with the comments made beneath articles. A user once criticized HBO, claiming the network “is dying.” The decision to fire [former HBO CEO Richard] Plepler was a terrible one. New man is awful. was chastised by an unidentified user who wrote, “Plepler was 2000’s, the future is Bloys.”