Claims from a former HBO employee revealed that the network’s CEO required an employee to disclose secret social media accounts in order to respond to online criticism.
Documents filed in Los Angeles Superior Court state: Sully Temori claims that studio CEO Casey Bloys commanded a “secret army” to crack down on television critics who published negative reviews of HBO titles.
Temori’s wrongful termination and harassment lawsuit spotlights Kathleen McCaffrey, HBO’s senior vice president of drama programming, who allegedly asked him to create fake accounts in June 2020.
He says Bloys was “obsessed with Twitter” and “always wants to start a fight on the platform.”
McCaffrey would reportedly direct Temori on Bloys’ behalf to create fake online accounts to respond to critics on social media and in articles from other publications. Rolling Stone Reports.
The lawsuit revealed that the studio’s CEO, Casey Bloys, commanded a “secret army” to crack down on television critics who published negative reviews of HBO titles
According to messages analyzed by the publication, in June 2020, Kathleen McCaffrey urged Temori to create fake accounts, stating that Bloys was “obsessed with Twitter” and “always wants to start a fight on Twitter.”
“He’s always texting me and asking me to find friends who can respond to him… Is there a way to create a dummy account that can’t be traced back to us to do his bidding,” McCaffrey asked him.
Temori’s attorney, Michael Martinez, told Rolling Stone that his client created a fake Twitter account to comply with his superiors’ demands and began hitting back at critics.
One such instance was when the show “The Nevers” premiered in April 2021 and Rolling Stone’s chief critic Alan Sepinwall gave the show a two and a half star rating, which angered Bloys.
McCaffrey texted Temori shortly afterwards and said: “Casey is looking for a tweeter… he’s mad at Alan Sepinwall.”
“Can our secret agent please tweet about Alan’s review: “Alan is, as expected, always safe and scared in his opinions.” And then we have to delete this chain, right? Oh my god I was just scared lol.’
That same day, a newly created account called “Kelly Shepherd,” a self-proclaimed Texas mother and herbalist, responded to Sepinwall’s tweet about his review with the exact same message.
Soon, Shepherd began responding to several critics, either criticizing them or praising HBO and Bloys in the comments section.
When the same show was criticized by New York Times chief critic James Poniewozik, Temeri was asked to write under his fake pseudonym: “How shocking that two middle-aged white men (you and Hale) would shit on a show about women…”. ‘ under the tweet.
The account’s profile picture appeared to be a stock photo used on several international corporate websites. Martinez confirmed to Rolling Stone that Temori created the fake account under Shepherd’s name.
Bloys’ plot also involved Temori commenting on articles from other publications under his instructions.
The user had written: “HBO became a joke as soon as Lombardo left the current group are idiots.” Blogs are a cocky, useless puppet that serves no purpose. Orsi is stupid as a stone. “Any is nice but clueless.”
“The Nevers” premiered in April 2021 and Rolling Stone chief critic Alan Sepinwall gave the show two and a half stars, which angered Bloys
When the same show was criticized by New York Times chief critic James Poniewozik, Temeri was asked to write under his fake pseudonym: “How shocking that two middle-aged white men (you and Hale) would shit on a show about women…”. ‘ under the tweet
According to texts, Bloys asked, “Someone actually says things went downhill after that.” [HBO’s former president of programming Michael] Lombardo is gone! Please let them post: “Hello David Levine!” HBO seems to be doing quite well, thanks!’
His message was published verbatim on Deadline’s website.
The network has not denied the existence of these messages and has refused to comment on them. In a statement, a spokesman said: “HBO intends to vigorously defend itself against Mr. Temori’s allegations.”
“We will not comment on select exchanges between programmers and erroneous tweets.”
Temori sued as John Doe, claiming he was harassed because of his disability and sexual orientation.
The complaint also names The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) and two other executive producers of his show “The Idol,” alleging that they bullied Temori to force him out of his job at the studio.