Gina Carano Responds To Reports Of HBO’s Troll Army: “How Many Lives Were Ruined Because Of Twitter Bots Cancelling Them?”
In continuing to take a stand against the Hollywood’s shameless hypocrisy, former The Mandalorian actress Gina Carano has pointed to recent reports that HBO used a number of fake Twitter profiles to harass their critics as yet further proof that the entertainment industry is absolutely no friend to those who challenge their narratives.
Word of HBO’s social media sockpuppeting was first raised to the public on November 1st, courtesy of Rolling Stone’s Cheyenne Roundtree.
Performing a review of text messages set to be submitted by former HBO staffer Sully Temori in support of his ongoing wrongful termination lawsuit against HBO leadership and members of The Idol‘s cast and crew, Roundtree found that HBO CEO Casey Bloys regularly discussed using what he described as a “secret army” of fake Twitter accounts to harass critics of their network.
Notably, one of Bloys’ favorite weapons to deploy against his targets was that of identity politics, often raising accusations of bigotry knowing full well the damage the ideology’s destructive rhetoric could do if picked up by the right online mob.
In one message purportedly sent by boys, after finding himself incised by the New York Times’ chief TV critic James Poniwozik and staff TV critic Mike Hale’s displeasure with the female-centric historical steampunk series The Nevers, Bloys told HBO Senior VP of Drama Programming Kathleen McCaffrey that “maybe our friend needs to say what a shock it is that two middle aged white men (he and [Times TV critic Mike] Hale) are sh–ting on a show about women.”
Notably, this exact message would later be sent to Poniewozik via one of the ‘troll army’ many accounts, this one notably claimed to have been made by Temori himself.
Though HBO initially declined to “comment on select exchanges between programmers and errant tweets,” a subsequent presentation at HBO’s company headquarters would see Bloys admit to having engaged in this juvenile behavior.
“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,” said Ploys, per a recap provided by Variety. “And the people who do them and the people who work on them. 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.”
“When you think about that, and then think of 2020 and 2021, I’m working from home and doing an unhealthy amount of scrolling through Twitter,” he continued. “And I come up with a very, very dumb idea to vent my frustration. Obviously, six tweets over a year and a half is not very effective. 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.”
Drawing his apology to a close, Bloys ultimately told attendees, “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. But we’ll talk more about that, and you guys can ask me anything you want in the Q&A. I just wanted to put that out there.”
Following this exposure of Bloys’ troll accounts, the story – particularly Bounding Into Comics’ own coverage of it – came to the attention of the aforementioned Carano.
No stranger to such Twitter mobs and harassment herself, Carano proceeded to question, “Do you think this behavior of creating bots was exclusive to HBO/MAX or that maybe other major studios do this as well?”
Sharing an article from Vox recapping the story, Carano then recalled how “in 2016 Bob Iger said Disney was basically inches away from buying Twitter but pulled out of the deal at the last minute saying they did a little more research & said this about Twitter users, “We, at that point, estimated with some of Twitter’s help that a substantial portion — not a majority — were not real.”
“What do you think that ‘substantial portion’ of fake users grew to from 2016 to before Elon Musk took over X/Twitter in 2022?” she questioned. “How big did the bot armies get? Who were the bot armies created by & to do what?”
“Why buy Twitter & deal with that headache when you can create armies of bots & control the narrative for much, much less money & energy,” said the Terror on the Prairie actress. “It does your promoting for you without making it look like you are promoting yourself, ‘Look, it’s popular on all these accounts, strangely liked by a bunch of accounts with no names, it must be good.’
“But what if it was used for something much more sinister,” Carano further questioned. “These damn critical YouTubers have too many followers, they are gaining traction, let’s censor them, on top of sending in the fake bot armies, just enough to get the yes men & useful idiots on board & rolling. That leads to firing a person who thinks differently because they can’t control their voice, need a reason to fire her? Get this hashtag trending, say she said something anti-Semitic, when she isn’t at all, twist her words & hey, as long as it’s in the headlines no one will ask any questions, it must be true.”
“I actually told them in an email & over the phone about these bot armies & how they start the negative narrative & then the young kids would join in not realizing they’re being manipulated & then websites & small news jump on board to be cool with the kids & before you know it, you’re trending & the Hollywood media devours it,” she continued, though she did not specify which party she had previously outlined these concerns to. “I told them I believed that is what was happening to me. A manipulated mob being used everyday to spread propaganda to protect the most corrupt. They didn’t need to buy Twitter, they just needed to buy the narrative.”
“Why does everyone just laugh off the fact that when the suits do something wrong it’s, ‘Oh how silly of those silly little harmless suits,’ Carano wrote. “Instead of the suits being forced to grovel & correct the wrong they do just like they demand so many others to. It’s not like they don’t know how to apologize, they wrote the playbook on fake apologies. They’ve literally destroyed careers & livelihoods & get sympathy pieces written on them while those whose lives got destroyed for just having an opinion, that was before its time, or made a mistake & hurt feelings, get destroyed.”
“This action of bot armies is actually a much bigger offense than people are realizing,” she then pointed out, ostensibly speaking from experience. “How many lives were ruined because of twitter bots cancelling them? In defamation law suits you need to have evidence of intent to do harm. Defamation law suits are very tricky, especially when you’re going up against someone with endless amounts of cash. I would say sending in bot armies to go after people they don’t agree with more than qualifies as intent to harm & I believe a jury would agree. Could get very interesting if ex or current employees came forward with more evidence.”
Drawing her lengthy response to HBO to a close, Carano asked her followers, “Aren’t you all sick of the abuse of power? You could sell your soul & still not end up in the 1% this benefits, & who wants to be in the 1% anyway when it means betraying humanity & selling your soul?”
“Don’t pass this social credit score BS onto the next generation,” she warned. “Artists throughout history are at their best when they’re not in lockstep, it’s what we love about them.”
Concluding with a call to arms, Carano declared, “”Independent creators, get busy & don’t be compromised once you climb to the top. Artists at the top, take your leashes off.”