Former HBO Employee’s Lawsuit Exposes HBO CEO’s ‘Secret Army’ for Online Defense
A former HBO staffer, Sully Temori, has brought forth startling revelations in his lawsuit, shedding light on the network’s CEO’s alleged involvement in commanding an employee to create secret social media accounts for countering online criticism.
In legal documents filed at the Los Angeles Superior Court, Temori claims that Casey Bloys, HBO’s CEO, oversaw a so-called ‘secret army’ tasked with pushing back against negative reviews and criticism of HBO programs.
Allegations in Temori’s Lawsuit
Sully Temori’s lawsuit, which includes claims of wrongful termination and harassment, specifically points to Kathleen McCaffrey, HBO’s senior vice president of drama programming.
According to Temori, McCaffrey asked him to create fake social media accounts in June 2020 on behalf of Casey Bloys.
The lawsuit alleges that Bloys had a deep interest in Twitter and consistently sought confrontations on the platform.
McCaffrey reportedly instructed Temori to establish fake online identities to respond to critics across social media and various publications.
McCaffrey’s Requests for Fake Accounts
One instance cited in the lawsuit revolves around the HBO series “The Nevers.” When TV critic Alan Sepinwall gave the show a two-and-a-half-star rating, it apparently didn’t sit well with Casey Bloys.
McCaffrey, acting on Bloys’ behalf, texted Temori, requesting a response to Sepinwall’s review: “Alan is always predictably safe and scared in his opinions.”
A new Twitter account under the name ‘Kelly Shepherd’ appeared and posted the exact message in response to Sepinwall’s tweet. ‘Kelly Shepherd’ went on to engage with various critics, offering both criticism and praise for HBO and Bloys.
Creating a Web of Fake Identities
Sully Temori, under the alias ‘Kelly Shepherd,’ was also asked to respond to New York Times chief TV critic James Poniewozik when he criticized the same show.
In this instance, the fake account alleged, “How shocking that two middle-aged white men (you & Hale) are sh**ing on a show about women…….” The profile picture for ‘Kelly Shepherd’ appeared to be a stock photo used across various international business websites.
Further Involvement in Online Commenting
Bloys’ alleged strategy extended to commenting on articles from other publications under Temori’s guidance.
For example, when someone claimed that HBO had declined after the departure of HBO’s former president of programming, Michael Lombardo, Bloys asked for a response:
‘Hi David Levine! HBO seems just fine, thanks!’ This message was posted verbatim on Deadline’s website.
HBO has not denied the existence of these messages but has declined to comment on them. A spokesperson for the network stated that HBO intends to vigorously defend against Temori’s allegations.
Temori’s Lawsuit and Allegations of Harassment
Sully Temori, who initially sued under the pseudonym John Doe, alleged that he faced harassment related to his disability and sexual orientation.
The lawsuit also names musician The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) and two other executive producers of his show, “The Idol,” accusing them of bullying Temori to force him out of his position at the studio.
This legal battle unveils a complex web of alleged online manipulation and harassment within the entertainment industry.