During a presentation of HBO’s upcoming projects, CEO and Chairman Casey Bloys he addressed recent reports that he and fellow executive Kathleen McCaffrey had discussed a scheme to target and harass critics who wrote negative reviews of the network’s shows during the early days of the pandemic.
Instead of denying the allegations, Bloys took ownership of the situation, apologizing and emphasizing his personal growth.
A recent report by Rolling Stone detailed discussions between Bloys and McCaffrey about creating a “secret army” of Twitter trolls to respond to negative criticism of HBO series, including the Perry Mason reboot and Joss Whedon’s The Nevers.
Text messages revealed Bloys’s objections to criticism from TV critics such as Kathryn VanArendonk and Alan Sepinwall.
While they decided against targeting VanArendonk, they planned to respond to Sepinwall and other critics, as well as anonymous commenters who left negative feedback about HBO’s decisions.
Casey Bloys Acknowledges Plan to Target Critics, Apologizes
These allegations were part of a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by former executive assistant Sully Temori, who claimed he was tasked with creating fake social media accounts to harass critics at the request of Bloys and McCaffrey.
HBO issued a statement expressing its intent to defend against Temori’s allegations but did not directly deny the reported actions of Bloys and McCaffrey.
Bloys acknowledged his role in the plan during the presentation and framed it as “a very, very dumb idea” resulting from excessive time spent on Twitter.
He claimed personal growth over the past few years and stated that he now directly engages with critics via direct messages.
While Bloys attempted to downplay the situation, it has raised concerns about the handling of criticism and feedback within the network, highlighting the need for open dialogue and a constructive approach to reviews, particularly for a company like HBO with a strong influence in the streaming industry.
Source: The Verge