An HBO show has been slammed for portraying "arranged rape" after a controversial scene aired in which two horses were seen having sex.
The controversial episode of tech comedy Silicon Valley, which screens in New Zealand tonight, shows two characters having a conversation while watching the explicit scene between randy horses unfold.
Despite The Hollywood Reporter confirming the American Humane Association overlooked the scene on set, the episode was slammed by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta).
Peta spokesperson Lisa Lange said the scene was more serious than it seemed.
"It may seem fun, but the mares are tethered during the process with no means of escape and the stallions are put on a lead rope and dragged to the mares to be mounted. Neither the stallions or the mares have any choice, it's assembly line breeding for profit," she said.
"There's an overpopulation crisis in racing as most horses will not win races, and are therefore discarded and sent on hideous journeys by truck in all weather to Mexico or Canada to be turned into meat."
Mike Judge, the creator of the show which is now in its third season, confirmed the scene wasn't faked, but claimed HBO asked him to include more of it in the episode.
"I actually have an email (saying), 'I can't believe I'm saying this, but can we have more screen time with the horses having sex?'"
Many fans took to Twitter to comment on the scene, but most saw the funny side.
So the wife & I watched this week's Silicon Valley last night & all she could say at the end...."that poor horse, I can't unsee that"— KC Bubba (@bdentrek) May 3, 2016
laughed myself horse watching latest episode of silicon valley— Ian McLaren (@iancmclaren) May 3, 2016
still slightly in shock/laughing about the horse scene in #siliconvalley show last night. Never seen that on TV before, wow!!— aileenlee (@aileenlee) May 2, 2016
I wish to unwatch that horse scene in silicon valley, but I am deeply saddened that won't be possible #SiliconValley— who? (@LucnessMonster_) May 2, 2016
* Silicon Valley screens on SoHo tonight.