HBO losing patience: This is 'a game we're not going to participate in'
HBO’s hacking nightmare isn’t over after all: Episodes from the upcoming ninth season of acclaimed comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm have been put online, EW has confirmed. New episodes from the Larry David comedy were leaked as part of the same cyber breach that recently infiltrated the premium network.
HBO released this statement, which injects an edge of impatience with the media’s ongoing coverage of every message and piece of pilfered content the hacker puts out there: “We are not in communication with the hacker and we’re not going to comment every time a new piece of information is released. It has been widely reported that there was a cyber incident at HBO. The hacker may continue to drop bits and pieces of stolen information in an attempt to generate media attention. That’s a game we’re not going to participate in. Obviously, no company wants their proprietary information stolen and released on the internet. Transparency with our employees, partners, and the creative talent that works with us has been our focus throughout this incident and will remain our focus as we move forward. This incident has not deterred us from ensuring HBO continues to do what we do best.”
Curb is set to return Oct. 1 after being off the air for five years.
According to Variety, the hackers also released Sunday’s episode of Insecure, plus episodes of Ballers and upcoming series Barry (a Bill Hader comedy which doesn’t debut on the network until 2018) and The Deuce (David Simon’s ’70s-set porn drama with James Franco, which premieres in September).
The dump did not contain any upcoming episodes of Game of Thrones, a show HBO insiders have been confident were not exposed in the hack (last week’s fourth episode of season 7 leaked online due to a separate issue with an overseas HBO affiliate — and then the show hit a series-high in the Sunday night ratings anyway).
Other outlets have engaged the hacker via email and discovered the infiltration was an attempt to shake down the network for millions in Bitcoin (more than $6 million according to one estimate). One email exchange with HBO released by the hacker suggested the network made the hacker an offer of $250,000, though network insiders say this wasn’t a genuine offer, but rather an attempt to stall for time while assessing how much content was stolen. Another piece of internal HBO data released by the hacker was allegedly altered to make it seem like HBO chairman Richard Plepler’s personal email account was accessed, when it apparently wasn’t. The whole tale is fraught with uncertainty: On one side is a company disinclined to say much about the hack, and on the other side is an anonymous person or persons with little incentive to be honest.
Last week, The Washington Post ran an editorial chastising the media for rummaging through leaked emails and other content, warning to “not serve as unwitting accomplices.” The leak of the Curb revival, however, is genuinely newsworthy — Curb is a major title in the HBO library. For better or worse for HBO, the surge of leaked content Sunday — including such a prestige title as Curb — suggests that the hacker’s patience waiting for a payday might now be over.