Francesca Orsi, who is the head of drama at HBO, apologized on Tuesday for saying the high salaries of Big Little Lies stars ‘raped’ the network
An HBO executive has apologized for her ‘poor choice of words’ after saying that the star cast of Big Little Lies ‘raped’ the television network with their high budget demands.
Francesca Orsi, who is the head of drama at HBO, made the offending remark while speaking at a conference in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
She was discussing the burden of Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon’s budgets – a reported $1million per episode for the seven-episode season 2 – when she said: ‘From a budget standpoint going into season two of without any options in place we’ve been… um… short of raped.’
Orso later issued a statement apologizing for her phrasing.
‘Obviously, I am embarrassed by my poor choice of words. We are extremely proud of Big Little Lies and excited for the second season,’ she told Deadline.
Neither Kidman nor Witherspoon have commented on the faux-pas.
The show swept the feminist-themed awards season and has been hailed as one of groundbreaking in its treatment of issues including domestic abuse.
Nicola Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, who both star in and produce the show, will earn a reported $1million per episode for the second series
Its stars have been at the forefront of the MeToo movement and used their acceptance speeches to this year to implore more networks and studios to invest in female-driven projects.
Both Kidman and Witherspoon are producers on the show as well as appearing on screen.
Orsi’s comment was slammed as insensitive for Twitter critics.
‘A crude, disgusting, insensitive use of the word. They’re f****** TV shows, not someone’s life, Francesca Orsi,’ said one.
Orsi’s comments on Tuesday were slammed by viewers who said it was an ‘insensitive’ use of the word
Big Little Lies has been heralded as groundbreaking in its female point of view. Its themes include domestic abuse
Another compared her remark to those of men who do not understand nor appreciate the seriousness of sexual assault.
One time I was walking on campus and heard a guy say to another, “That test raped me.”
‘Two girls overheard him and looked at each other in disgust.
‘One went, “It’s not okay to say that.” Yet here’s an HBO exec using that language,’ another said.
Orsi was answering questions on how networks can compete for talent along with cash-flush distributors like Netflix and Apple when she made the remark.
The show’s stars have spearheaded the MeToo movement. Witherspoon is pictured dressing in black in a show of solidarity with female protesters at the Golden Globes in January
Before signing her season 2 contract with HBO, Witherspoon signed on to a 20-episode morning show with Apple which will see her get paid a reported $1.25million per episode.
The Hollywood Reporter claims she used that deal to leverage her Big Little Lies salary.
For the first season, Witherspoon and Kidman reportedly earned between $250,000 and $300,000 per episode for their HBO show but their fee has grown enormously with its acclaim and success.
Nicole Kidman used her Best Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Golden Globe to implore Hollywood to fund more female-driven projects