HBO Chairman Casey Bloys has a reputation in the entertainment industry as an effective programmer and a smooth executive who stays above the fray.
All of them made their presence felt at a press conference on Thursday, addressing their role at the center of the media storm, which was quite shocking.
Mr. Bloys admitted his involvement in an effort to create fake Twitter accounts to respond to television critics who had unfavorable views of HBO’s programs. And yes, he said, it was “a very stupid idea to vent my frustration.”
The comments came a day after he made an appearance at an event focused on the network’s upcoming shows Rolling Stone reported About Mr. Bloys’s efforts to counter critics on Twitter. The article attracted the attention of much of the entertainment industry, with many rival executives privately wondering how an HBO executive could be so thin-skinned. New York Magazine described it as a “mini-scandal” that was “probably the funniest thing to happen in the media in years.”
In its article, Rolling Stone said Mr. Bloys and Kathleen McCaffrey, another HBO executive, began discussing the Twitter plan starting in June 2020. (Twitter has since been renamed X.)
According to the report, Mr. Bloys wrote to his aide, “Who can go on the mission.” He asked to find a “mole” who was at “arm’s length” from HBO executives. “We just need a random one to make the point and make him feel bad,” he wrote, referring to one critic.
The article states that a former HBO employee created a fake Twitter profile and began responding to critics.
Rolling Stone obtained the text messages while reporting on the wrongful dismissal lawsuit of Sully Temori, a former employee who is suing the network along with two senior executives and several producers from the now-cancelled show “The Idol.” Where he worked.
Rolling Stone reported that the posts to critics – as well as anonymous comments to the entertainment trade publication, Deadline – were from June 2020 to April 2021.
“Think about 2020 and 2021, I’m working from home and spending an unhealthy amount of time scrolling through Twitter,” Mr Bloys said on Thursday.
He further said, “I apologize to those who were mentioned in the leaked emails, texts.” “Obviously, no one wants to be part of a story that has nothing to do with them.”
HBO executives, like other networks specializing in prestige television, consider critical response as a metric for deciding whether a show will be renewed. The network has historically made critics’ favorite lists and has been a major player in television awards shows.
“I want people to love them,” Mr. Bloys said Thursday, referring to the network’s offerings. “I want you all to love him. It’s very important to me what you all think about the show.”
Mr Bloys then suggested he had moved on from the fake Twitter account strategy, instead reaching out to critics through the direct message button.
“As many of you know, I have progressed in using DM over the last few years,” Mr. Bloys said. “So now when I take issue with something in a review, or take issue with something I see, I DM many of you, and many of you are so kind as to send my Connect back and forth. And I think that’s probably a healthier way to go about this.”