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HBO's CEO admits he used fake Twitter accounts, including one of a vegan Texas mom named Kelly, to troll critics who left negative reviews

Sarah Jackson   

HBO's CEO admits he used fake Twitter accounts, including one of a vegan Texas mom named Kelly, to troll critics who left negative reviews
  • HBO's CEO admitted to using fake Twitter accounts to hit back at critics' negative reviews.
  • Casey Bloys called it "a very, very dumb idea to vent my frustration," per Variety.

You know the head of HBO as Casey Bloys, but he goes by a few different aliases on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Bloys admitted Thursday that he made secret Twitter accounts to take digs at critics' negative reviews of HBO's programming.

"For those of you who know me, you know that I am a programming executive very, very passionate about the shows that we decide to do. And the people who do them and the people who work on them," Bloys said Thursday morning at a New York promotional event for HBO and Max, according to Variety. "I want the shows to be great. I want people to love them. I want you all to love them. It's very important to me what you all think of the shows.

Bloys' trolling behavior — which he says resulted in six tweets in a 1.5-year period — was "a very, very dumb idea to vent my frustration" while "working from home and doing an unhealthy amount of scrolling through Twitter" in 2020 and 2021, he said, per Variety.

He continued: "But I do apologize to the people who were mentioned in the leaked emails, texts. Obviously, nobody wants to be part of a story that they have nothing to do with. But also, as many of you know, I have progressed over the past couple of years to using DMs. So now, when I take issue with something in a review, or take issue with something I see, many of you are gracious enough to engage with me in a back and forth and I think that is a probably a much healthier way to go about this."

Bloys' admission comes after Rolling Stone on Wednesday published an article about a wrongful-termination lawsuit against Bloys and HBO brought by a former employee, Sully Temori, who said he was tasked with creating the fake accounts. Temori's lawsuit alleged he faced retaliation and discrimination after disclosing a mental health diagnosis at work.

Rolling Stone published the content of messages it reviewed between Bloys and HBO's senior vice president of drama programming, Kathleen McCaffrey, that mentioned things like a "secret army" of accounts to hit back at unfavorable reviews.

"Do you have a secret handle?" one message from Bloys read, according to Rolling Stone. Another reportedly said: "We just need a random to make the point and make her feel bad."

"He always texts me asking me to find friends to reply … is there a way to create a dummy account that can't be traced to us to do his bidding," McCaffrey reportedly said to Temori in June 2020.

One of the troll accounts was created in the name of a fake Texas mom named Kelly Shepherd, whose bio describes her (ahem, Bloys) as a vegan, aromatherapist, and herbalist.

In one tweet, New York Times chief TV critic James Poniewozik said Joss Whedon's sci-fi drama series "The Nevers" "feels like watching a show that someone has mysteriously deleted 25% of the scenes from."

Bloys-slash-Shepherd responded: "how shocking that two middle aged white men (you & Hale) are shitting on a show about women," referring also to Times TV critic Mike Hale.

In a separate response to a tweet from Rolling Stone's chief TV critic Alan Sepinwall calling "The Nevers" "very messy," Bloys wrote under the Shepherd alias, "Alan is always predictably safe and scared in his opinions."

HBO declined Insider's request for comment.




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