‘Hatfields & McCoys’ Series|Abused Horses, Actor Says


LOS ANGELES (CN) – An actor in the “Hatfields & McCoys” TV miniseries sued the show’s producers for reckless misconduct and negligence after he was flung from a horse he claims was mistreated by the show’s handlers.
     Thomas McKay, who played Jim McCoy, sued Hatfields & McCoys Productions and Thinkfactory Media, in Superior Court.
     He claims he was injured two years ago on location in Romania when a horse bolted and threw him into a tree.
     Before the accident in the Snagov Forest, north of Bucharest, McKay claims he was given only “minimal instruction or training,” though the producers had promised he would be guided by a riding instructor.
     “During the initial weeks of filming, plaintiff was witness to repeated abuses of the horses on the production set. He was further informed by numerous co-employees on the production that the horses were not being cared for by defendant,” the complaint states.
     McKay actor says that in the days before the accident the horse he was riding was clearly “uncontrollable,” ill, unfit to ride and had injuries to its face and head. Despite his complaints, the producers told him to keep riding the horse, the actor claims.
     “As a result, at approximately 2:00 p.m. on November 11, 2011, the subject horse became uncontrollable again during filming of a scene, bolted, and subsequently threw plaintiff into a tree, resulting in serious and permanent injuries and harm to plaintiff,” the 33-page lawsuit states.
     The court filing does expand on McKay’s injuries.
     McKay claims that defendant insurers OneBeacon America Insurance and ACE USA refused to pay all of his medical bills, expenses and benefits.
     The 6-hour series aired on the History channel last year, in three installments. It was directed by Kevin Reynolds, who is not a party to the lawsuit.
     “Hatfields & McCoys” is not the first show to face a lawsuit alleging abuse of horses.
     In January this year former executive with The American Humane Association claimed this year that the HBO series “Luck” had abused racehorses. An HBO spokeswoman denied those allegations at the time.
     McKay alleges reckless misconduct, breach of contract, breach of faith and fair dealing, fraud/deceit, intentional infliction of emotional distress, premises liability, and negligence.
     He is represented by Sean Novak of Beverly Hills, who did not immediately respond to a request for an interview.
     Thinkfactory Media declined to comment.
     OneBeacon and ACE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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