Netflix CEO: Curse you, password sharing! Literally

On what's typically a snoozy earnings discussion, Reed Hastings shares what he claims is the log-in info for the head of rival HBO. And the password would make your grandma gasp.

Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
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Joan E. Solsman
2 min read
Don't let the avuncular sweater fool you, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings gets salty when provoked. Screenshot by Joan E. Solsman/CNET

Reed Hastings, the founder and chief executive of Netflix, seems to be taking a page out of the script of T-Mobile Chief John Legere. A profanity-ridden page.

During what is typically a dry quarterly discussion of earnings results, Hastings on Wednesday was asked about HBO Chief Executive Richard Plepler's recent comments that he doesn't care if people share their HBO Go passwords. Hastings' response:

That was an interesting comment I suppose. So I guess Plepler, the CEO of HBO, doesn't mind me then sharing his account information. So it's plepler@hbo.com and his password is 'Netflix B!+@#.'"

A fan of "Breaking Bad," perhaps?

HBO said it didn't have any comment.

CNET gave it a shot, and when we tried to log into Netflix as the TV executive, all we got was a message saying, "The login information you entered does not match an account in our records. Remember, your email address is not case-sensitive, but passwords are."

That's not the only thing that's sensitive.

Netflix has often put HBO squarely in the center of its competitive bull's eye. Original content is key to the future Netflix envisions for itself as an online television provider to surpass HBO, and Hastings has said he sees the company reaching 60 million to 90 million US customers eventually, which would lap the US subscriber ranks of HBO a few times over.

But if everybody just logs in as Plepler, that will surely hurt Netflix subscriber rolls, no?

UPDATED At 3:48 p.m. PT: With HBO declining to comment.