HBO Sued Over Horse Deaths
Former AHA employee alleges abuse cover-up
Barbara Casey, who worked for the American Humane Association for 13 years, most recently as the director of production in the group’s film and television unit, has filed a lawsuit against her former employer, HBO, and Stewart Productions. In the lawsuit, recently filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Casey says that she was wrongfully terminated after attempting to report criminal activity she witnessed on the set of Luck, the David Milch-produced horse racing drama starring Dustin Hoffman that was canceled in March after three animals died during filming.
“AHA bowed to political and financial pressure and refused to report the Production Defendants’ conduct to the authorities,” according to the suit, in which Casey describes observing drugged, sick, and underweight horses being used for work on the show. Casey also argues that, in order to save time and money, Luck producers would intentionally misidentify horses so that AHA animal safety representatives could not track their medical histories.
“We took every precaution to ensure that our horses were treated humanely and with the utmost care, exceeding every safeguard of all protocols and guidelines required of the production,” HBO told The Hollywood Reporter in a prepared statement. “Barbara Casey was not an employee of HBO, and any questions regarding her employment should be directed to the AHA.”