After Saying Big Little Lies "Raped" HBO's Budget, Exec Apologizes

Photo: Courtesy of HBO
HBO had no shortage of headlines on Tuesday, following an illuminating panel about the premium cable network's future. Though many great things came from the talks — hello, Game of Thrones spin-offs! — there's at least one statement the massive company probably wishes they could erase from the public's memory.
According to Deadline, HBO drama executive Francesca Orsi compared the company's budgetary woes to sexual assault.
"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 said.
After some public outcry, Orsi has apologised for her offensive comparison.
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"Obviously, I am embarrassed by my poor choice of words," she said in a statement to TV Line. "We are extremely proud of Big Little Lies and excited for the second season."
Orsi's comments stemmed from a discussion about why the network chose to elevate Big Little Lies from a one-time limited series to a recurring project. It's understandable that there would be some issues with working another series into your budget on short notice, especially when it boasts huge names like Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, and Laura Dern, all of whom negotiated bigger pay cheques. What's hard to comprehend is how anyone could think that making light of rape is even remotely OK.
Here are some common sense facts: There's nothing funny about rape or sexual assault, and it should never be used as a punchline. Period. It doesn't matter who you're talking to or what you're discussing. Rape. Is. Not. A. Joke.
What's especially baffling about Orsi's statement — aside from the fact that Big Little Lies is in part about domestic violence — is that she made it in the midst of the #MeToo and Time's Up movements, which call for the end of sexually violent conduct, rhetoric, and behaviour. It's a cause many of HBO's stars, such as Witherspoon, have rallied behind in recent months.
Unfortunately, this isn't the first time HBO has been under fire for its insensitive approach to rape and sexual assault. Fans have complained more than once over the past few years about Game of Thrones' controversial rape scenes.
Hopefully, this recent incident will be enough to convince HBO to take a harder look at the way in which its programming and executives depict and talk about sexual violence.

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