HBO Denies Using Secret Social Media Accounts to Defend The Idol And Other Flops

HBO Denies Using Secret Social Media Accounts to Defend The Idol And Other Flops
Image credit: HBO

The internet itself doesn’t seem to believe the message, though.


  • HBO’s The Idol was released in June 2023 and was embroiled in controversy right away.
  • The former HBO employee Sully Temori, who worked on the show, filed a lawsuit against several HBO representatives.
  • HBO denies all allegations stated in a lawsuit, including the ones about secret social media accounts.

In a world seemingly run by social media, it's not surprising that someone would abuse its power to get the result they want. From all the hashtag campaigns of the early 2010s to the carefully planted sounds that might make it into TikTok trends today, big companies have been trying to figure out social media for a long time.

And of course, in their zeal to defend their own product, they were bound to make some embarrassing mistakes.

Imagine not liking something on the Internet so much that you trash-talk it not once, but twice, using your private or secret throwaway account to make your voice count more. There are some chronically online people out there who have a plethora of accounts just to get into fandom discussions like this.

However, this is not the kind of behavior you want to see from a major network like HBO, especially with its own content. However, the lawsuit filed against some HBO representatives, as well as The Idol creator Abel "The Weeknd " Tesfaye and two of the show's producers, suggests that this was a fairly common way of working.

Did HBO Defend Their TV Shows With Secret Accounts?

HBO Denies Using Secret Social Media Accounts to Defend The Idol And Other Flops - image 1

If you have had the pleasure of spending a little too much time on the Internet, you know that X (formerly known as Twitter) has always been the place for the most heated discussions. And while Elon Musk is trying his best to fix the problem with bots on the platform, if you want to create your own anonymous account, you can easily do so.

According to Rolling Stone's analysis, the secret tactic was initiated by none other than Casey Bloys, HBO's then-president of original programming, back in 2020. While the world was holed up in their homes, streaming the shows and sharing their opinions, not all of those opinions were positive.

It was then decided to bombard the critics who shared their thoughts on X (formerly known as Twitter) with dissenting responses, often in the form of snarky comments, in order to gain more engagement from other users. Like any other form of art, television production is subjective, and the HBO staff was opening up a discourse, but doing so in secret.

HBO Denies Using Secret Social Media Accounts to Defend The Idol And Other Flops - image 2

This practice was mentioned by Sully Temori as one of the many things he had to do that wasn't covered in his contract, yet he had to deal with it on a regular basis.

Although HBO representatives did not give a full response to all of the allegations, including the one about the use of anonymous accounts, they did issue the following statement:

“[We] intend to vigorously defend against Mr. Temori’s allegations. We look forward to a full and fair resolution of this dispute. In the meantime, we wish Mr. Temori, a former HBO employee, well in his future endeavors.”

It is unknown how many posts were made by HBO employees in total, and how exactly they affected the public perception of the series in question, but it certainly makes many people rethink their recent online arguments.

Now, HBO TV shows may be in the same category as politics, as you never know if you are talking to another person like you or someone who is representing the company's interests. Be extra careful in your online discussions, and keep an eye out for more news and updates regarding this lawsuit.

Source: Rolling Stone