The Weeknd stars in forthcoming HBO drama series The Idol as Tedros, a new-age cult leader who’s presumably quite a bad fellow, according to HBO’s own description of the show (The Idol is the “sleaziest love story in all of Hollywood,” apparently).
But Tedros might’ve rubbed off on the IRL Weeknd (real name Abel Makkonen Tesfaye), as the pop singer has been mired in controversy since an early review of the forthcoming show revealed some dark rumors about The Idol.
On March 1, Rolling Stone published an article about The Idol, citing anonymous sources who claimed that the HBO seres was mired in problems. Their claims range from The Weeknd purportedly replacing previous director Amy Seimetz with Euphoria creator Sam Levinson because Seimetz provided too much of a “woman’s perspective” to whispers of the “shitshow” production, with scenes reminiscent of “torture porn.”
The Weeknd, apparently displeased by the reporting, tweeted a clip from The Idol in which his character calls Rolling Stone irrelevant.
The magazine’s editor in chief didn’t mind, though.
The Weeknd’s response was perhaps not a great look considering that his character is presumably an apparently unrelatable sadist and/or sociopath (and, therefore, his opinions about the state of the world don’t hold much weight) but it goes deeper.
Folks across social media took umbrage at The Weeknd’s lack of response to the allegations, taking his glib reply as an unwillingness to properly address the controversy.
abel firing amy as the director because it was “leaning too much into a female perspective” fjdnsnsbdb he is never beating the misogyny asshole allegations
— ☥ (@kittenheeIs) March 1, 2023
abel tarnishing 12+ years of hard work when he’s at the peak of his career for this shit…the worst part is his response, does he not understand how glamorizing r*pe & physical abuse is so serious that has a such a huge affect on r*pe and pa survivers how tf is that a good idea
— the goatknd 🌅 (@stargirlhoursx2) March 1, 2023
Even his most ardent stans were torn on the matter, seemingly finding it difficult to stream the new Weeknd live album that released on streaming services the same day (don’t worry, they’ll probably be listening to The Weeknd guilt-free within a week).
Abuse. Rape. Torture porn. Directors leaving. Unfinished scripts. Eggs dwindling in a vagina. Character begging to be sexually assaulted. Crew members pissed. Unprofessional nepo behavior, bad acting…and this is your corny response?
Abel, bye. https://t.co/x2VPAWfxTG
— Kellee Terrell (@kelleent) March 2, 2023
i love abel but we all can admit how he handled this situation was horrible. the things the rolling stones article talked about are disgusting things that women in real life have to deal with (maybe not the exact situations but still) using it as a potential pr move is sickening
— 𝐉𝐚𝐢𝐝𝐲𝐧 𝐗𝐎 SAW ABEL ♡ (@XO_Jaidyn) March 1, 2023
The Weeknd reposted the clip onto his Instagram page, where it drew a similarly divided response.
Comments included “Stop romanticizing assault,” “This isn’t giving what you think it’s giving,” and “‘You mad bro?’ was always the weakest response to criticism.”
One follower reiterated, “It’s not Rolling Stone accusing you, dude, it’s people who straight up worked on the show. Not a good look.
Omg why are some of xo acting like we’re turning our backs in Abel for literally calling him out? He deserves this backlash and I’m not gonna act like he’s in the right just bc he’s Abel.
— caroline. 💤 (@ABELOUTSOLD_) March 2, 2023
Some people inexplicably seemed to think that the review was some sort of paid dark media boost for The Idol.
To be fair, it is a little suspicious that The Weeknd tweeted a clip that directly references Rolling Stone by name and that he was able to quickly clear it with the production team for his response.
Then again hard to imagine HBO relishing the negative attention that the review brought its new show. No one wants to be associated with “toxic” fantasies about sexual assault.
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.
— Daric L. Cottingham, M.A. (@DaricCott) March 1, 2023
Because Jennie from K-pop supergroup BLACKPINK is involved, there’s even some drama among her stans.
To be clear, the review cited a source claiming that Jennie’s role in the forthcoming show has been minimized to only a handful of lines.
jennie was excited about the OLD SCRIPT. the article y’all are using to “prove” ur non existent point is from LAST YEAR. jennie met abel back in 2021. pic.twitter.com/dgMvibD09a
— ً (@READYFORL0VE) March 2, 2023
In spite of (or perhaps thanks to) the controversy, expect The Idol‘s ratings to spike when it premieres later in 2023.
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