HBO Defends 'Euphoria' Against Claims of Mistreatment on Set: 'Never Any Formal Complaints Raised'

"It's not uncommon for drama series to have complex shoots, and COVID protocols add an additional layer," the network said in a statement

Zendaya, HBO Euphoria Season 2 - Episode 8
Zendaya in Euphoria. Photo: Eddy Chen/HBO

HBO is coming to the defense of its hit show Euphoria following accusations of mistreatment made by background actors during the production of season 2.

"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," the network said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. "It's not uncommon for drama series to have complex shoots, and COVID protocols add an additional layer."

The statement continued, "We maintain an open line of communication with all the guilds, including SAG-AFTRA. There were never any formal inquiries raised."

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HBO's defense comes after The Daily Beast published a story on Friday in which background actors made claims of mistreatment due to Euphoria's demanding filming schedule.

The report states that "multiple complaints were made to SAG-AFTRA over production failing to provide them meals on time and refusing to let people use the bathroom."

Additionally, The Daily Beast reported that extras were not provided with a proper holding area between scenes and were offered "two space heaters" during cold evening shoots.

In a statement to PEOPLE, a SAG-AFTRA spokesperson said: "Advocating for professional performer work categories like background actors and enforcing contractual provisions is one of SAG-AFTRA's core functions. This includes the routine enforcement of contracts at the worksite through our National Field Services Department which is charged with resolving any on-set violations by working with the company's production staff members to immediately correct the issue(s) in connection with performers' employment. All actors should benefit from the protections our members enjoy, and production companies signed to our agreements need to follow our safety protocols, wage and hour rules, and other protections - regardless of an actor's union status."

"I understand that I'm doing background work," one background 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. It just very much felt like we didn't exist as people."

Another extra added, "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."

Jacob Elordi, who plays Nate on the HBO series, spoke to The Hollywood Reporter last month about his experiences on set.

"We do shoot really long days; sometimes 16-hour days. It's kind of like the labor and the love of the work," he said. "You can't do that stuff in a short amount of time. At the end of it all, it's quite cathartic to work so hard and long on something and have a product that you're proud of come out."

Euphoria was renewed for season 3 earlier this month. The show's season 2 finale on Feb. 27 was viewed by at least 19 million people across all platforms, according to THR, making it the most-watched show since Game of Thrones.

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