The Weeknd Responds to Criticism of 'The Idol'

The Weeknd Responds to Criticism of 'The Idol'

BYPaper MagazineApr 14, 2023

The Weeknd is addressing the controversy already surrounding The Idol.

Last month, Rolling Stone published an investigative report where production sources called the highly anticipated HBO series everything from a complete "shitshow" to an exercise in "torture porn." That said, The Weeknd is now directly tackling the allegations in a new cover story for Interview, in which he vehemently refutes the criticism aimed at his show about a cult leader and female pop star.

"That’s what I’m learning about the film business, is that when people start rumors, it really does hurt a lot of other people," the hitmaker said. "A lot of people work hard on these projects. When I’m in my world, and you guys are coming at me, it’s like, alright, cool. I’m a big boy. I can figure it out. But you have 200 people working hard on a project like this, that hurts. Especially when what they’re saying is far from the truth, but, what can you do?"

Additionally, the Weeknd went on to praise showrunner Sam Levinson as a "great leader" and co-star Lily-Rose Depp for being "stronger than both of us" amid the criticism. However, he noted that he's been "judged since the beginning," adding that his "stuff’s always kind of been provocative."

"I understand it’s hard for people to separate that sometimes and that some people want to have an opinion about you, even if it’s not true," he continued. "As an artist, you have to know that you can’t please everybody, and you have to accept that it comes with the job.”

According to several of the insiders quoted in Rolling Stone's report though, The Idol was bogged down by reshoots and rewrites that apparently ultimately turned a "dark satire of fame and the fame model in the 21st century" into the very thing it was trying to skewer. And as many of them claimed, the majority of this stemmed from The Weeknd and Levinson's complete "creative overhaul," which allegedly made it into something more akin to a "rape fantasy that any toxic man would have" due to The Weeknd wanting "one show that was all about him."

You can read everything The Weeknd told Interview about the controversy surrounding his show here.

Photo via Getty / Axelle / Bauer-Griffin / FilmMagic