Better watch out, critics.
If you don’t like a Max show or movie you might get earful … from the streamer’s CEO.
HBO CEO and Chairman Chief Casey Bloys admitted earlier this week to using proxies to attack critics who took issue with select HBO/Max programming. The mea culpa came following a Rolling Stone expose on a lawsuit filed against the streamer by an ex-employee.
It seems Bloys instructed his minions to create fake social media accounts to troll TV critics who didn’t adore HBO shows like “The Idol” (canceled after one season) and “Perry Mason” (canceled after two).
Bloys’ apology, made during an announcement for upcoming Max content, included a caveat. He still takes issue with those who don’t adore his streamer’s content, but now he “DMs” select critics to debate them one-on-one.
Doesn’t he have a company to run?
Snark aside, the matter suggests a larger, undiagnosed problem.
Movie web sites like IMDB.com and RottenTomatoes.com have waged war against so-called trolls who dislike content for political or cultural reasons. The press dubbed it “review-bombing,” and it allegedly impacted shows like Amazon’s “Lord of the Rings” prequel series and “She Hulk,” among other titles.
— Marvel Fans India (@MarvelFansIN) August 23, 2022
What about streamer-bombing?
It’s likely major platforms send their own minions out to counter bad reviews and worse buzz and never get caught. The next time you see a web site commenter defending a troubled show or film, it could be from the creative team behind it.
In the battle for public opinion, such efforts seem almost impossible to deny. And it’s even harder to suss them out. The RS article involved a lawsuit where the fake accounts came to light. Otherwise, we’d have no idea these actions happened at all.
Or are still happening today.
News sites can’t be bothered tracking down every comment to see if it’s authentic or not. Plus, some post items anonymously, making that task all but impossible.
There’s plenty riding on social media reactions to new and upcoming films and TV shows. Bad buzz can build up, and fast, leaving studios reeling in the process.
Suddenly, a project with tons of goodwill is met with a digital windstorm that knocks it of course. What if studios gamed the system, now and then, to get their titles back on track?
Millions are at stake. Literally.
It’s worth noting some of the Bloys’ approved attacks had a racial component to them. One digital troll attacked a critic for being a “middle-aged white male.”
Let’s hope he doesn’t play the “woke card” in his DM diatribes.