The Weeknd slammed over his response to The Idol's 'torture porn' accusations
2 March 2023, 15:53 | Updated: 2 March 2023, 17:05
"Abel, this is not the response u think it is."
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The Weeknd is being called out on social media following his response to the allegations made in a new report detailing the messy behind-the-scenes happenings on his upcoming HBO series, The Idol.
The Idol has been promoted as the new series from the "sick and twisted minds" of Sam Levinson and Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye. It follows pop superstar Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp) as she navigates the seedy underbelly of the music industry and falls under the spell of Tedros (The Weeknd), a mysterious owner of a popular L.A. nightclub who secretly runs a cult. It's also been described as the "sleaziest love story in all of Hollywood".
Yesterday, Rolling Stone magazine published a report detailing how the production has "gone wildly, disgustingly off the rails", with 13 members of the cast and crew all sharing their experiences from the set.
The reports follow a much-publicised tumultuous second season of Euphoria where Sam Levinson was criticised for the way he had written a number of nude scenes that certain cast members, including Sydney Sweeney and Minka Kelly, had asked to be toned down.
Described as a "shit-show", the Rolling Stone article reports that original director Amy Seimetz suddenly exited the show with roughly 80 percent of the six-episode series finished. According to a report from Deadline, her departure was due to a major creative overhaul.
Four sources then claim that Levinson, who took over as director, scrapped the original approach to the story "making it less about a troubled starlet falling victim to a predatory industry figure and fighting to reclaim her own agency, and more of a degrading love story with a hollow message that some crew members describe as being offensive."
One production member said: "It was like any rape fantasy that any toxic man would have in the show — and then the woman comes back for more because it makes her music better."
Three sources cited in the article also claim that Levinson's scripts contained "disturbing sexual and physically violent scenes" between Lily-Rose and The Weeknd’s characters, adding that it was like "sexual torture porn." Production sources also claim Levinson dramatically ramped up the explicit content that was in Seimetz’s original version.
Another source, who seconded Deadline's previous report, said that The Weeknd was also reportedly unhappy that the story was focusing too much on Lily-Rose’s character.
.@RollingStone did we upset you? pic.twitter.com/Uyx06lyRgx— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) March 1, 2023
In response to those accusations and claims, The Weeknd took to Twitter to share a new clip from the show in which his character and Lily-Rose Depp's character call Rolling Stone magazine "irrelevant" and "past its prime".
Alongside the clip, The Weeknd wrote: "@RollingStone, did we upset you?"
Of course, given the nature of the allegations and reports in Rolling Stone's feature, Twitter users were quick to point out that The Weeknd's response was "not it". His response has been quote tweeted over 24,000 times and a strong majority of replies are all calling him out for it.
One user wrote: "ngl I was really interested in watching this but hearing how sam the clown levinson got his hands on the script and flipped it around to some torture porn fantasy and how the production turned away female voices is upsetting. also abel, this is not the response u think it is."
Another added: "This ain’t it. responding to serious allegations with a corny video like this is just so disturbing and messed up."
Writer Kylie Cheung also tweeted: "Now me personally I would not be glib about a report that a show I helped create glorifies rape and tossed out a woman director for portraying "too much of a female perspective"."
Mind you, all Rolling Stone did was publish an article on the clearly toxic workplace environment Sam Levinson created so your shade is misguided Mr. Tesfaye. https://t.co/BpvxDWmkVH— Aquarius’ Groove (Ricky’s Edition) (@monetsupremacy_) March 1, 2023
this ain’t it. responding to serious allegations with a corny video like this is just so disturbing and messed up. https://t.co/RWPFZEmjDX— 🕷️ (@GIRL0VESICK) March 1, 2023
ngl i was really interested in watching this but hearing how sam the clown levinson got his hands on the script and flipped it around to some torture porn fantasy and how the production turned away female voices is upsetting. also abel, this is not the response u think it is https://t.co/xJQiMQdaJq— Internet Mom (@ashleyippolito) March 2, 2023
Now me personally I would not be glib about a report that a show I helped create glorifies rape and tossed out a woman director for portraying “too much of a female perspective”.. https://t.co/T1uxReZKm0— Kylie Cheung (@kylietcheung) March 1, 2023
I truly cannot think of a worse response to THIRTEEN (13) people saying your show has turned into a “rape fantasy.” https://t.co/8H5kDd9p03— Nicholas Hautman (@nickhautman) March 2, 2023
this is plainly embarrassing, but also, the hubris to think that this will serve as a response to a story like that https://t.co/Zasy3vGBtv— David Sims (@davidlsims) March 1, 2023
Rolling Stone's entertainment reporter Cheyenne Roundtree, who wrote the report, quote tweeted The Weeknd's response, adding that he did not return a request for comment when asked by the publication.
Elsewhere, both HBO and Lily-Rose Depp issued statements to Rolling Stone defending the project and Sam Levinson.
Lily-Rose called Sam Levinson "the best director" she’s ever worked with, adding she's never "felt more supported or respected in a creative space, my input and opinions more valued."
HBO called The Idol one of their "most exciting and provocative original programs," adding "the creative team has been committed to creating a safe, collaborative, and mutually respectful working environment, and last year, the team made creative changes they felt were in the best interest of both the production and the cast and crew."