HBO Exec Apologizes For Jokey Rape Comment About Drama Addressing Rape

A senior VP said the A-list "Big Little Lies" cast "sort of raped" the network with pay demands.

An HBO executive issued a public apology Tuesday after using an amazingly poor choice of words to describe the cast of “Big Little Lies” at an Israeli television conference.

The hit drama, based on the novel by Liane Moriarty, begins as (spoiler!) Shailene Woodley’s character, Jane, moves to the wealthy Monterey, California, area while recovering from a brutal rape.

During a panel at the conference, HBO senior VP Francesca Orsi used an ill-conceived metaphor to respond to a question about the rising costs of production in the age of premium TV. 

“From a budget standpoint going into Season 2 of ‘Big Little Lies’ without any options in place we’ve been … sort of raped,” she said, according to The Hollywood Reporter

The comment appeared to refer to the pay demands of the series’ stars, including Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, that skyrocketed following the first season’s success. Orsi has been involved with the drama from its start.

“Obviously, I am embarrassed by my poor choice of words,” Orsi said in a statement Tuesday. “We are extremely proud of ‘Big Little Lies’ and excited for the second season.”

But, yes, the show will cost a boatload of cash. HBO agreed to dish out big pay raises to Witherspoon ― who is also making bank through Apple’s new content venture ― along with Kidman and Woodley. Witherspoon and Kidman, also credited as Season 1 executive producers, will reportedly take home about $1 million per episode for Season 2. Woodley, who reportedly earned $1.7 million for Season 1, is also rumored to get a pay bump.