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The Weeknd Defends ‘The Idol’ Following Backlash

The Weeknd had responded to a March exposé by Rolling Stone regarding his forthcoming HBO series The Idol, which was described by the publication as “torture porn.”

According to anonymous “production sources,” the making of the show was allegedly “plagued by delays, reshoots, and rewrites” and described as a “shit show” by those involved. Rolling Stone claimed that the series has gone “wildly, disgustingly off the rails.”

Directed by Euphoria creator Sam Levinson, The Idol was set to feature The Weeknd as a central character alongside the likes of Lily-Rose Depp, Troye Sivan, and BLACKPINK’s Jennie.

Hours after the exposé was published, Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye did as any grown adult man does and tweeted: “@RollingStone, did we upset you?”

However, Abel was called out for his ‘inappropriate’ clap back – after he shared a clip from the series branding the publication ‘irrelevant’ after the report emerged – but the 33-year-old revealed that he stands by his response.

In a new interview with Vanity Fair, he elaborated on his reaction to the disturbing exposé: “I thought the article was ridiculous,” the Weeknd said. “I wanted to give a ridiculous response to it.”

Another issue that Abel addressed was the scandal surrounding the replacement of Director Amy Seinmetz. Seinmetz had abruptly exited despite completing “80 percent” of the series. That month, a “creative overhaul” was reported by Deadline, with Tesfaye reportedly feeling that the show was leaning too far toward a “female perspective.”

Regardless, Abel went on to say that there was no scandal when it came to replacing Seimetz with his co-creator Sam Levinson as director.

“I actually really loved working with Amy,” he said, “and I’m sure she’s reading all this being like, ‘Why am I being thrown into this?’” Instead, he chalked up the behind-the-scenes switch to scheduling conflicts and production timelines, nonchalantly adding, “Shows get reshot every day … What are you gonna do? These are the trials and tribulations of it, and that’s what the show is about.”

Apparently, Levinson’s takes on the story—which was originally reported as a cautionary tale about a starlet (portrayed by Lily-Rose Depp) struggling to maintain agency in relation to a high-powered industry figure—devolved into a “degrading love story” littered with unnecessary nudity and head-scratching depictions of a sexual dynamic. Meanwhile, the Weeknd asserted that Depp had creative agency on the show and did not dispute the show’s potentially problematic content.The Idol, which stars Lily-Rose Depp as a mononymous pop star named Jocelyn and Tesfaye as her egotistical producer and mentor Tedros, is set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival later this month before its wide premiere on HBO and MAX on June 4.


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