Allegations of ‘Toxic’ Workplace Rock Woke HBO Show ‘Euphoria’


Euphoria has been branded a “toxic” workplace by insiders who claim that background actors were denied meals and bathroom breaks during 18-hour workdays, according to a report. HBO responded saying that the well-being of the cast and crew is a “top priority.”

Euphoria “crew members and background actors” told The Daily Beast that aspects of Season 2’s production were hellish, with some describing the work environment as “toxic.”

Workdays would also reportedly last up to 18 hours, and several complaints have been made to the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA).

The story says a union representative was sent to the set after complaints from extras about the conditions of the shoot.

“Creatively, it must be a dream, but logistically? Come on,” one source told The Daily Beast, referring to the show’s creator Sam Levinson — son of famed Rain Man director Barry Levinson — who allegedly arrives on set without a shot list and decides what to shoot off the cuff. “It felt very privileged on that set.”

The Daily Beast’s sources added that people eventually began “dropping like flies,” with the casting agency having to constantly recruit more extras.

“I understand that I’m doing background work,” one actor told The Daily Beast. “I’m not the most important person there, I know where I am on the totem pole.”

“But it got to a point where I was like, I’m still a person, I’m still human. Please let me go to the restroom, don’t tell me I can’t go for 30 minutes or tell me I can’t get a snack when you’re not going to feed me and it’s 4 a.m.,” the actor added. “It just very much felt like we didn’t exist as people.”

Another actor told the outlet, “It was the most disorganized set that I’ve ever been a part of because I don’t think anybody knew what was going on.”

“There were times after 14 hours we were told, ‘This is the last scene, we’re done after lunch,’ we took lunch, waited around two and a half hours, and then we went back to set,” the actor added. “It felt toxic to me because I don’t think anybody was really happy to be there.”

HBO provided the following statement in response:

The well-being of cast and crew on our productions is always a top priority. 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. We maintain an open line of communication with all the guilds, including SAG-AFTRA. There were never any formal inquiries raised.

Euphoria has become HBO’s second-most-watched show ever behind Game of Thrones, thanks in part to the social media following of actress Zendaya — the on- and offscreen love interest of Spider-Man star Tom Holland.

The entertainment industry is no stranger to providing toxic workplace environments.

A report last year revealed that Hollywood’s culture of bullying, abusive behavior, and employee mistreatment continues unabated despite high-profile scandals that have drawn widespread attention to the problem.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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