HBO Exec Apologizes for 'Big Little Lies' Rape Comment

An executive at HBO says that she regrets saying the salary demands of the Big Little Lies cast "raped" the network.

While speaking on an INTV Conference panel in Jerusalem, HBO’s senior VP of drama Francesca Orsi said, “From a budget standpoint, going into season two of Big Little Lies without any options in place, we’ve been… um… short of raped.”

She has since rolled back her comment, providing a statement obtained by Entertainment Weekly that reads, “Obviously, I am embarrassed by my poor choice of words. We are extremely proud of Big Little Lies and excited for the second season.”

Orsi's comment stems from the fact that Big Little Lies was originally only meant to be a limited series. However, it was met with generally worldwide critical and audience acclaim, thus prompting HBO to want to do a second season.

The issue with that, though, is HBO only negotiated with the cast and production staff for the limited series, so they had to go back and renegotiate new contracts. This time, everyone involved had considerable leverage to negotiate for a higher pay rate, being that the show was so wildly popular.

Orsi's statement seems to indicate that network executives felt like they were being financially taken advantage of during said follow-up negotiations.

Big Little Lies stars A-listers Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skarsgård, Laura Dern, Adam Scott, and Zoë Kravitz.

The second season is scheduled to go into production soon, with a premiere dated slated for 2019.

It has been quite a month for CEO's making controversial comments. On March 7, Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, infuriated subscribers with his stance on "inclusion riders."

"We’re not so big on doing everything through agreements," Hastings said a press meeting. "We’re trying to do things creatively."

USA Today reported that Hastings prefers his staff to work directly with the filmmakers to make sure that productions are all-inclusive and diverse. "That's how we look at it," he added.


Explaining more in-depth what it is, comedian Whitney Cummings previously tweeted, “An inclusion rider is something actors put into their contracts to ensure gender and racial equality in hiring on movies sets. We should support this for a billion reasons, but if you can’t find a reason to, here’s one: it will make movies better.”

Many have been very frustrated with Hastings' attitude toward inclusion riders, seeming to perceive his comments as flippant, with one person tweeting, "Dont make me cancel you." Hastings does not appear to have further addresses his comments.