Though HBO cancelled Dustin Hoffman's Luck almost a year ago after three horses died during production, the series about horseracing is still making headlines.
In a recent interview with Reuters, Hoffman addressed Luck's abrupt cancellation, saying, "They closed us down like a guillotine. The facts were so distorted that it frightened HBO into making that hasty decision. It really was a freak accident."
In an open letter to Hoffman, PETA's associate director Michelle Cho calls the actor's "freak accident" comment "outrageously cold and totally irresponsible," adding, "There is nothing accidental about this."
In the letter, PETA says they tried to contact Hoffman, who also served as executive producer, prior to the third horse's death about the animals' treatment on-set. "We contacted you privately—no fanfare—and asked for your help in making conditions safer for the horses, but you ignored that overture and at least one other horse died just days later," Cho writes. "That horse's blood is on your hands."
Cho also writes that Hoffman and Luck's other executive producers had a responsibility to create a safe environment for the horses, saying, "The corpses of three horses are evidence that you and others in positions of authority shirked your duties. Now, to add insult to real-life injury, you have brazenly decided to defend that conduct and to take HBO to task for pulling the plug on this deadly show."
Finally, Cho says the horses' deaths are still under investigation by law enforcement, the California Horse Racing Board, and the California Veterinary Medical Association. "While you have dismissed the deaths, the authorities haven't," she writes. "It is clear to us, Mr. Hoffman, that you are a man without a heart or a conscience or the courage to apologize in any way for your role in the deaths and injuries that befell animals on the set of Luck."