HBO responds to allegations of unsafe environment on ‘Euphoria’ set

Image via HBO

HBO’s hit Euphoria has attracted large audiences (and won an Emmy for star Zendaya) detailing the lives of students at Grant High School in Valley Glen, California. There have been persistent accusations of a “toxic” work environment and gruelling, possibly illegal, work schedules dogging the series.

Euphoria, a remake of a hit Israeli series, has been renewed for a third season on the heels of monster ratings not seen on HBO since Game of Thrones. The show’s second season averaged 16.3 million viewers a week, with 6.6 million tuning in to watch the finale. So it’s not surprising that in a recent statement, HBO responded with a denial of mistreatment of cast and crew:

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.

A report in The Daily Beast detailed tensions between breakout star Barbie Ferreira (who plays Kat Hernandez) and series creator Sam Levinson (son of Barry Levinson), reportedly leading to Ferreira walking out twice. While the star faced no official reprisals, fans have noted that in the second season her character has been reduced from a main character whose erotic awakening drove storylines about body acceptance, to a background character and narcissistic schemer.

In a Thrillist article, costar Maude Apatow (daughter of comedian and filmmaker Judd Apatow) detailed “hellish” late-night shoots, describing filming a New Year’s Eve scene as a gruelling marathon.

“We shot all night, so we would start at 6pm and go until whenever the sun would rise—5am—and we were so tired. We were trying so hard to stay awake!”

In addition, background actors complained of missed meals and breaks required by contracts with SAG-AFTRA, the union for professional actors. In addition, they allege that producers would not allow them to use the bathroom for hours at a time.

Season 2 of Euphoria can be seen on HBO Max now.

About the author

Liam McEneaney

Liam McEneaney

A professional comedian since the age of 19, Liam has been writing, editing, and performing for various TV shows and websites his entire adult life. He produced and starred in 'Tell Your Friends! The Concert Film!' which premiered at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival. Liam is currently attending the prestigious University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.