Euphoria

HBO Defends ‘Euphoria' Production After Background Actors Allege ‘Toxic' Workplace

The network replied to a Daily Beast report

Jeff Kravitz

HBO is denying allegations that the season two production of "Euphoria" was "toxic."

On Friday, March 4, the network issued an apparent response to a Daily Beast report, published the same day, in which anonymous background actors alleged multiple SAG-AFTRA violations and "hellish" conditions. In a statement to E! News, an HBO spokesperson stated, "The well-being of cast and crew on our productions is always a top priority."

They continued, "The production was in full compliance with all safety guidelines and guild protocols. It's not uncommon for drama series to have complex shoots, and COVID protocols add an additional layer."

In the Daily Beast, multiple background actors said they filed complaints to the SAG-AFTRA union because of the long work days and "production failing to provide them meals on time and refusing to let people use the bathroom," as one anonymous source said.

However, in HBO's new statement, the network said there were "never any formal inquiries raised." It added, "We maintain an open line of communication with all the guilds, including SAG-AFTRA."

Euphoria Season 2: Cast Statements on Controversial Moments

Those who worked as extras for the New Year's Eve party, featured in episode one of season two, spoke to the Daily Beast about the conditions on the set, alleging they "didn't have a proper holding area for the extras" who were left with "two space heaters" as they filmed overnight in the "chilly conditions."

Additionally, several sources told the Daily Beast that the background actors weren't given food after working for six hours, as required by SAG-AFTRA.

After filing complaints, the background actors said, a "union representative was sent to the set to ensure that union guidelines were being followed."

When contacted by the Daily Beast, a SAG-AFTRA spokesperson was unable to speak to the specifics of the complaint, but said in a statement, "Advocating for professional performer work categories like background actors and enforcing contractual provisions is one of SAG-AFTRA's core functions."

They added that their National Field Services Department employees act as liaisons to ensure performers, even those who aren't members, are given the protections required by the union.

E! News reached out to the SAG-AFTRA for comment but didn't hear back.

Though Sydney Sweeney, Maude Apatow and other cast members have expressed that filming the series is tough work, the stars have praised HBO for providing them with intimacy coordinators and other resources throughout production. Jacob Elordi recently said on the "Ellen DeGeneres Show" that the intimacy coordinator is attentive "to the point where you're like, 'Yeah, yeah, I'm fine.'"

Seasons one and two of "Euphoria" are streaming now on HBO Max.

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