The Weeknd responds to Rolling Stone's backlash against his new TV show

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By Asiya Ali

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The Weeknd has responded to the criticism against his debut television series after a Rolling Stone report revealed abhorrent details about the production.

On Wednesday (March 1), the magazine published an explosive exposé that was titled: "'The Idol': How HBO's Next 'Euphoria' Became Twisted 'Torture Porn,'" which includes anonymous insiders revealing the tumultuous creative process, bizarre rewrites, and reshoots on the set of the new show.

The HBO TV series - which was originally pitched as a drama mocking Hollywood's exploitation - stars Lily-Rose Depp, Abel Tesfaye (AKA The Weeknd), Troye Sivan, K-pop star Jennie Kim, and more.

The show was initially directed by Amy Seimetz - who reportedly employed a "feminist lens," - however, she suddenly exited the show in April 2022. Her work was then overhauled by Sam Levinson, the director behind the award-winning series Euphoria.

Watch The Idol trailer below:

In the new report from Rolling Stone, the 38-year-old filmmaker reportedly stirred the erotic drama in a controversial direction by attempting to include "disturbing sexual and physically violent scenes between Depp and Tesfaye’s character".

One source spoke to the outlet about the planned problematic scenes and said: "It was like, 'What is this? What am I reading here?'" adding, "It was like sexual torture porn."

Since the posting of the article, it has attracted negative responses from users who are shocked at the content of the series. One horrified user commented: "This sounds repulsive and disgusting. Why did HBO green light this?!"

Another said: "Total shocker a show glamorizing men abusing women in the music industry became an abusive environment in and of itself."

Now, the 33-year-old musician took to his Twitter page to share a response to the backlash. He posted a clip from the show, and captioned it: "@RollingStone did we upset you?"

The footage shows the 'Blinding Lights' singer's character, Tedros, with costar Depp - who plays a pop star named Jocelyn - speaking to a character played by Dan Levy.

In the clip, Levy - possibly playing a publicist or agent - encourages Jocelyn to be featured in a cover story with the music-based publication but Tedros interjected: "Rolling Stone, aren't they a little irrelevant?"

The 23-year-old model - who is the daughter of Johnny Depp - added (as her character): "I don't know, I think it's maybe past its prime," and then the two discussed how Jocelyn had overtaken the outlet in social media followers.

Again, users took to the online platform to slam the 'Starboy' singer for his post, with one person writing: "Media literacy is dead, 'The Idol' Rolling Stone article is not marketing for the show it’s an actual report on the failings of the production."

"Abel’s response is out of touch. Not taking this seriously is how people like Joss Whedon run rampant through Hollywood unchecked," they went on.

A second user remarked: "This goofy clip is how you response to serious accusations is simply so bizarre and wrong. Responding in this manner when the entire article is about the director being a creep with abuse and r**e desires is disgusting."

In addition to The Weeknd's post, Depp issued a statement to E! News in support of Levinson, saying: "Sam is, for so many reasons, the best director I have ever worked with. Never have I felt more supported or respected in a creative space, my input, and opinions more valued."

Furthermore, HBO also shared a statement - obtained by BuzzFeed News - that clarified that the "initial approach" on the show did not meet their criteria, so they decided to make changes.

"Throughout the process, the creative team has been committed to creating a safe, collaborative, and mutually respectful working environment," they added.

While three teaser trailers for The Idol have been released, a specific release date has yet to be announced.

Featured image credit: Image Press Agency / Alamy

The Weeknd responds to Rolling Stone's backlash against his new TV show

vt-author-image

By Asiya Ali

Article saved!Article saved!

The Weeknd has responded to the criticism against his debut television series after a Rolling Stone report revealed abhorrent details about the production.

On Wednesday (March 1), the magazine published an explosive exposé that was titled: "'The Idol': How HBO's Next 'Euphoria' Became Twisted 'Torture Porn,'" which includes anonymous insiders revealing the tumultuous creative process, bizarre rewrites, and reshoots on the set of the new show.

The HBO TV series - which was originally pitched as a drama mocking Hollywood's exploitation - stars Lily-Rose Depp, Abel Tesfaye (AKA The Weeknd), Troye Sivan, K-pop star Jennie Kim, and more.

The show was initially directed by Amy Seimetz - who reportedly employed a "feminist lens," - however, she suddenly exited the show in April 2022. Her work was then overhauled by Sam Levinson, the director behind the award-winning series Euphoria.

Watch The Idol trailer below:

In the new report from Rolling Stone, the 38-year-old filmmaker reportedly stirred the erotic drama in a controversial direction by attempting to include "disturbing sexual and physically violent scenes between Depp and Tesfaye’s character".

One source spoke to the outlet about the planned problematic scenes and said: "It was like, 'What is this? What am I reading here?'" adding, "It was like sexual torture porn."

Since the posting of the article, it has attracted negative responses from users who are shocked at the content of the series. One horrified user commented: "This sounds repulsive and disgusting. Why did HBO green light this?!"

Another said: "Total shocker a show glamorizing men abusing women in the music industry became an abusive environment in and of itself."

Now, the 33-year-old musician took to his Twitter page to share a response to the backlash. He posted a clip from the show, and captioned it: "@RollingStone did we upset you?"

The footage shows the 'Blinding Lights' singer's character, Tedros, with costar Depp - who plays a pop star named Jocelyn - speaking to a character played by Dan Levy.

In the clip, Levy - possibly playing a publicist or agent - encourages Jocelyn to be featured in a cover story with the music-based publication but Tedros interjected: "Rolling Stone, aren't they a little irrelevant?"

The 23-year-old model - who is the daughter of Johnny Depp - added (as her character): "I don't know, I think it's maybe past its prime," and then the two discussed how Jocelyn had overtaken the outlet in social media followers.

Again, users took to the online platform to slam the 'Starboy' singer for his post, with one person writing: "Media literacy is dead, 'The Idol' Rolling Stone article is not marketing for the show it’s an actual report on the failings of the production."

"Abel’s response is out of touch. Not taking this seriously is how people like Joss Whedon run rampant through Hollywood unchecked," they went on.

A second user remarked: "This goofy clip is how you response to serious accusations is simply so bizarre and wrong. Responding in this manner when the entire article is about the director being a creep with abuse and r**e desires is disgusting."

In addition to The Weeknd's post, Depp issued a statement to E! News in support of Levinson, saying: "Sam is, for so many reasons, the best director I have ever worked with. Never have I felt more supported or respected in a creative space, my input, and opinions more valued."

Furthermore, HBO also shared a statement - obtained by BuzzFeed News - that clarified that the "initial approach" on the show did not meet their criteria, so they decided to make changes.

"Throughout the process, the creative team has been committed to creating a safe, collaborative, and mutually respectful working environment," they added.

While three teaser trailers for The Idol have been released, a specific release date has yet to be announced.

Featured image credit: Image Press Agency / Alamy