A hacker apparently leaked several unreleased new episodes of “Orange is the New Black” Saturday after threatening Netflix and demanding a ransom.
The hacker, who goes by the name The Dark Overlord, appeared to have uploaded the first 10 episodes of Season 5 on file-sharing site The Pirate Bay, Variety reported, although it could not verify they were authentic. The premiere show was uploaded Friday.
Netflix announced a small production vendor that worked with major TV studios did in fact suffer a breach. The California company called it an “active situation” under investigation.
Pirated copies of “Orange” could dent Netflix’s subscriber growth and the company’s stock price.
In the ransom note, The Dark Overlord claimed to have stolen series from other studios, too, by breaking into a single company. The purported hacker promised to also release those titles unless “modest” ransoms are paid.
Rumors of a massive leak of Hollywood films and TV episodes have been circulating online for months, fed by purported screenshots of the footage and a copy of a proposed deal to delete the stolen material in return for tens of thousands of dollars in electronic currency.
When The Associated Press contacted The Dark Overlord in February, the hacker said the purloined video wouldn’t be made publicly available after all, making the far-fetched claim that “no one really (cares) about unreleased movies and TV show episodes.”
It’s not clear what triggered The Dark Overload’s renewed ransom demands.
Netflix is counting on “Orange” to help it add 3.2 million subscribers from April through June. That’s substantially higher than the company’s average gain of 1.8 million subscribers in the same period over the past five years.
New episodes of “Orange” were scheduled for official release on June 9.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.