Nick Nolte with racehorse in HBO show Luck. AP Photo/Gusmano Cesaretti

HBO sued over alleged horse deaths cover-up in Luck

Nick Nolte with racehorse in HBO show Luck. AP Photo/Gusmano Cesaretti
Nick Nolte with racehorse in HBO show Luck. AP Photo/Gusmano Cesaretti.

Cross-posted from via The Hollywood Reporter


One of television’s strangest sagas in 2012 was the March cancellation of HBO’s “Luck” after the horse racing drama starring Dustin Hoffman was attacked over the treatment of animals on set.

The saga isn’t quite over.

Barbara Casey, who worked as the director of production in the American Humane Association’s film and television unit, has filed a lawsuit against her former employer and HBO. Casey says she worked for AHA for 13 years and is suing the organization for allegedly wrongfully terminating her in January 2012. She’s also suing HBO and Luck producer Stewart Productions for aiding and abetting an alleged abuse cover-up months before the series was put to sleep.

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.

Casey says HBO and Stewart Productions wanted to save time and money and that rather than cooperate with AHA, the production companies pressured the organization to allow them to violate the AHA’s animal safety standards.

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, HBO says: “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.”

The AHA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Read more >>


Tuesday’s Horse

New York Times investigative team probes horse racing fatalities and drug use, Mar 23, 2012

Necropsy results from horses killed in HBO series “Luck” may result in charges, Mar 16, 2012

HBO suspends filming with horses for its series “Luck” after third death, Mar 14, 2012

“Luck” bad for horses as two die in making of HBO series, Feb 7, 2012

Horse injured and euthanized on the set of “Luck”; May 7, 2010

3 thoughts on “HBO sued over alleged horse deaths cover-up in Luck”

  1. It seems as time goes on anything to do with animals, farmed or un-farmed, seems to spiral downward…George Orwell’s writings seem so appropriate – human and animal alike, We are controlled and have no voice….how sad about the animal abuse but even sadder is the fact that those in a supposed democracy and a majority who are against the abuse cannot stop it……it is criminal.


    1. Disgusting, isn’t it? People use horses up, then dump them wherever they can. Yes, we are sick of it.

      Also, it appears in this case American Humane do not understand the amount racehorses in the U.S. suffer from side effects from all of the drugs they receive during their careers. Even ones with short-lived careers, say two or three years, have been pumped to the max in way too many cases. If this woman’s testimony is true, then they were held together by even more drugs to get a few more races out of them. The horses did not know they were performing a race for a television show, so they gave their all as if it were any other race.


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