HBO CEO Used Fake Twitter Accounts To Troll Critics, Didn’t Realize There Are Professionals Who Can Do That For You — We’ve well established that the AT&T–>Time Warner–> Warner Brothers Discovery mergers were some of the dumbest, most pointless “business” exercises ever conceived, resulting in more than 50,000 layoffs, the death of popular properties like Mad Magazine, and an overall erosion of brands like HBO and CNN.
Very much on brand, HBO’s CEO and chairman Casey Bloys has now been busted for using fake Twitter accounts to troll critics of HBO executives and its programming. The revelation came courtesy of text messages included as part of a wrongful-termination lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in July by former HBO staffer Sully Temori.
Temori claims he was wrongfully terminated after disclosing a mental health diagnosis, but also insists he was repeatedly asked by Bloys to create Twitter accounts to attack show critics. It was not a… well coordinated effort. One such account was a fake Texas mom who attacked show critics for being sexist.
Other fake accounts were used to comment on Deadline stories critical of Bloys leadership at HBO:
While HBO has denied every allegation in the lawsuit (including the creation of fake accounts), Bloys has admitted to his shitty judgment and insists he’s learned his lesson:
“As many of you know, I have progressed over the past couple of years to using DMs. 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 gracious enough to engage with me in a back and forth. It’s a probably a much healthier way to go about this.”
The great irony here is that there are countless policy and lobbying shops that specialize in making up fake people to create the illusion of support or opposition to pretty much anything a corporation would possibly want. Such services are certainly affordable for Warner Brothers Discovery executives whose compensation dramatically outpaces their competence.
Such firms are endlessly at work attempting to shape perception or policy with people who don’t actually exist (recall when telecom giants used fake and dead people to attack net neutrality at the FCC?). In the media sector such firms have been caught manipulating Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB scores, or providing fake support to get certain projects off the ground.
Such firms exist so that thin-skinned executives don’t wind up with their shitty judgement under a giant spotlight. But like everything the modern AT&T/TimeWarner/Discovery conglomerate touches, even their effort to spin the narrative wound up being decidedly half assed.