All About ‘The Idol’ Controversy  

The upcoming HBO series, which was developed by musician The Weeknd and Euphoria writer-director Sam Levinson, is drawing criticism for its sexually explicit subject matter, which some critics claim denigrates its main female character and relies too heavily on shock value.

The Weeknd (credited as Abel Tesfaye) is a self-help guru and cult leader in The Idol, which premieres on HBO on June 4. Lily-Rose Depp plays a pop star who is trying to revive her career; other stars in supporting roles include Suzanne Son, Troye Sivan, Rachel Sennott, and Blackpink member Jennie. 

When did the controversy over The Idol begin?

In June 2021, The Idol was first made public, and production immediately began. On April 25, nearly a year later, Deadline reported that the series cast, crew, and “creative vision” were undergoing significant adjustments.

“The Idol’s creative team has agreed on a new creative direction as they build, refine, and evolve their vision for the show. To best serve this new approach to the series, the production will be making adjustments to its cast and crew. We anticipate sharing more data soon,” an HBO representative told Cutoff time at that point.

While the significant change around was the primary indication of “an especially uncommon move for the organization,” as depicted by Cutoff time, it was only after Moving Stone provided details regarding conflicts and claimed poisonousness on set following chief Amy Seimetz’s takeoff that inescapable concern started.

13 unidentified members of the show’s cast and crew were interviewed for the outlet’s exposé, which was published on March 1, 2023, regarding the alleged significant changes to the story.

“The initial approach on the show and production of the early episodes, unfortunately, did not meet HBO standards so we chose to make a change,” HBO stated in a statement to PEOPLE in response to the allegations.

Why did Amy Seimetz leave The Idol as a director?

The Idol’s director, Amy Seimetz, who was supposed to direct every episode of the music-focused show, left the project one day after Deadline reported that significant changes were being made to the show.

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She left The Idol without explaining at the time, even though, according to Variety, the show had already filmed material for multiple episodes that needed to be “redone.” Deadline reports that The Weeknd, who also co-created the show, was “unhappy with the show’s creative direction.”

Amy Seimetz
Amy Seimetz / Image Credit: Getty Images

The Weeknd “felt the show was leaning too much into a ‘female perspective'” with costar Johnny Depp’s character “rather than his own,” according to sources who spoke with the publication.

In addition to Seimetz’s departure, other well-known crew members also left the ship. On April 27, Suzanna Child, who was set to play a faction part in the series, left the show.

According to Deadline, Sam Levinson would have “more of a role” in directing the HBO series now that Seimetz has left the role. Lily-Rose Depp said in “Basic Instinct” that she “thought a lot” about Sharon Stone while filming “The Idol.” According to IndieWire, due to scheduling issues, Seimetz was not initially scheduled to direct the final episode.)

Controversy with Rolling Stones: 

Rolling Stone published an expose in March 2023 that included investigative reports from production members regarding the toxic set environment and creative disagreements. This publication further sparked controversy and uncertainty regarding the project.

The production went “wildly, disgustingly off the rails,” according to the allegations. Neither Levinson nor The Weeknd answered Drifter’s solicitations for input before distributing the confession; be that as it may, The Weeknd got down on the power source following it was posted. On Twitter, he shared a clip from The Idol and wrote, “Rolling Stone did we upset you?”

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