The former HBO show "Luck" has brought the cable network more bad fortune this week, as a wrongful-termination lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by an animal care worker claims that she was fired for complaining about mistreatment of the animals on the show's set.
Concern after several horses died led HBO to cancel the show in March. But Barbara Casey, a former employee of the American Humane Association (AHA) who worked on the set, says there's a lot of abuse that went undocumented.
Casey posits that representatives for the AHA observed drugging of the horses and even the use of underweight and sick horses in filming. Complaints from the representatives were overlooked by HBO and the AHA, Casey says. She adds that the AHA even told representatives not to document the death of one horse "because he was killed during a summer hiatus from filming and therefore 'did not count.'"
The network has denied any foul play, and says Casey's concerns should be with the AHA.
"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," an HBO spokeswoman said in a statement. "Barbara Casey was not an employee of HBO, and any questions regarding her employment should be directed to the AHA."
Casey, who was fired in January 2012, is also claiming that HBO violated California labor code as well as aided and abetted.