HBO Is Being Sued Over Luck Horse Problems And Alleged Cover Up Of Animal Abuse

To say that HBO's bad luck with the cancelled series Luck has not run out would not only be a cringe-worthy pun, even for those of us with a guilty-pleasure for word play, but at this point, it'd be kind of an understatement as well. The premium cable channel shut down production and eventually cancelled the horse-race-focused drama series last winter, but its struggles with the show aren't over as they're now being sued and accused of attempting to cover up alleged abuse of the horses featured in the series.

THR says Barbara Casey, former director of production at the American Humane Association's film and television unit, is slapping her former employer and HBO with a wrongful termination suit over being fired in January of 2012. January would've been just a couple of months ahead of reports surfacing that HBO was shutting down production on the series after a third horse died on the set. THR says Casey is suing Stewart Productions (Luck's producer) and HBO for "aiding and abetting an alleged abuse cover-up months before the series was put to sleep." That might also have been right around January when Casey was fired, though THR doesn't specify the timeline there. They do go into some specifics over the accusations Casey has made against the AHA...

According to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Casey says the AHA observed drugged horses, underweight and/or sick horses routinely used for work on the show, the misidentification of horses by producers so that animal safety reps couldn't track their medical histories and more.

HBO says they took ever precaution to make sure the horses were treated with care, "exceeding every safeguard of all protocols." And then the premium cable network points out that Casey doesn't work for them and "any questions regarding her employment should be directed to the AHA."

The accusations against the AHA are especially interesting, as we would assume this is the group that's looking out for the animals' best interest. Casey's lawsuit claims the AHA "bowed to political and financial pressure and refused to report the Production Defendants' conduct to the authorities." The whistle has been blown here, and it seems like the problem may be bigger than just this series, should the accusations against the AHA prove hold some truth. In the meantime, given this mess, which is apparently not entirely dealt with just yet, I would be surprised if HBO got itself involved in any TV show with a primary focus on animals anytime soon.

Kelly West
Assistant Managing Editor

Kelly joined CinemaBlend as a freelance TV news writer in 2006 and went on to serve as the site’s TV Editor before moving over to other roles on the site. At present, she’s an Assistant Managing Editor who spends much of her time brainstorming and editing feature content on the site.