Tuesday, May 21, 2013
By Latin Times Staff Writer, Jan 03, 2013 04:14 PM EST
(PHOTO CREDIT: Reuters) Former star of HBO's drama "Luck," Dustin Hoffman.
They shoot horses, don't they? Well, apparently not soon enough. Controversy continues to follow HBO horseracing drama, "Luck," even after its cancellation. A former employee of the American Humane Association is suing the network, the AHA and the series' producer Stewart Productions for allegedly attempting to "conceal and cover-up" animal safety violations while filming.
"Luck," which starred Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte," was cancelled after just one season, with HBO seemingly conceding that conditions were unsafe for animals on the set. Three horses had to be euthanized during 10 months of production.
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According to The Hollywood Reporter, Barbara Casey, who was Director of Production for the AHA's film and TV unit for 13 years, filed the suit claiming she was wrongfully terminated after she threatened to report animal mistreatment to the authorities. Casey is also alleging HBO and Stewart Productions pressured the AHA into letting them violate the organization's safety guidelines.
"... To minimize any disruption to its production schedule, the Production Defendants, rather than fully cooperate with AHA, continued to engage in and/or direct criminal animal abuse and cruelty. The Production Defendants pressured AHA to allow the use of unsuitable horses in an attempt to ensure that sufficient numbers of horses would be available to meet its production demands," the claim obtained by THR contends.
"AHA bowed to political and financial pressure and refused to report the Production Defendants' conduct to the authorities," Casey alleges. "AHA instructed Plaintiff not to report such conduct. AHA engaged in efforts to conceal and cover up the production defendants' criminal activities."
Among the litany of abuses reportedly witnessed by the AHA, Casey says horses were "drugged to perform," "underweight and sick horses unsuited for work [were] routinely used," and that HBO and Stewart Productions "misidentified horses so that the humane officers and/or animal safety representatives could not track their medical histories, experience and/or suitability for use."
Casey further claims in the suit that HBO and Stewart Productions wanted the AHA to fire her, and "provided advice, encouragement and/or moral support to AHA to terminate" her, "so that the 'Luck' production would not be made more costly, time consuming and/or otherwise disrupted."
Releasing a statement to THR, HBO responded, saying: "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. Barbara Casey was not an employee of HBO, and any questions regarding her employment should be directed to the AHA."