Earlier today, Rolling Stone published an article detailing some of the production changes to the anticipated HBO drama The Idol in which members of the crew deride the production as a “sh*tshow” and criticize its new direction, which has been reportedly guided by co-creators Sam Levinson and The Weeknd, who also stars.
Well, The Weeknd clearly wasn’t going to take that criticism lying down and the perfect response ready to go, straight from the show itself. On Twitter, he posted a clip of the show in which his character calls the publication “irrelevant,” with the caption, “@RollingStone did we upset you?” The clip depicts Daniel Levy’s publicist pitching a cover story to his client, Lily-Rose Depp’s Jocelyn, only to be shut down by The Weeknd’s Tedros.
.@RollingStone did we upset you? pic.twitter.com/Uyx06lyRgx
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) March 1, 2023
Of course, in the context of the show’s premise, this doesn’t quite scan as the harsh put-down of legacy publications it may seem at first blush. After all, according to HBO’s own publicity for the show, secret cult leader Tedros is a harmful influence on Jocelyn; in Rolling Stone‘s report, his actions toward her are described by the show’s own staff as “sexual torture porn.”
While it seems unlikely that The Weeknd has completely misunderstood the premise of his own show, reports have speculated that the reason for the controversial new direction stemmed from his distaste for the original director, Amy Seimetz’s, treatment of the material, which focused more on Jocelyn’s character than on Tedros.
Seimetz departed the nearly complete show last spring, replaced as director by Levinson, and most of the negative comments were focused on his new treatment, which turned the show from “a dark satire” into “the thing it was satirizing.” This tends to corroborate prior statements made about Levinson’s other HBO show, Euphoria, which has drawn criticism for its explicit content.
Is it possible that this is all some elaborate form of guerilla marketing? Maybe. But considering the show isn’t even completed yet — it doesn’t even have a release date, although HBO is still aiming for sometime in 2023 — it seems we won’t find out for a while… and the show we ultimately get might be completely different than either of the two shows described in Rolling Stone‘s report.