Just six hours after Rolling Stone released a damning report detailing alleged production troubles on the set of “The Idol,” The Weeknd has responded with a new sneak peak of the upcoming HBO series that mentions the publication by name.
On Wednesday, Rolling Stone published a story about alleged onset issues facing “The Idol,” which R&B star Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye co-created with Reza Fahim and “Euphoria” creator Sam Levinson. The story claimed that production on the series devolved into chaos and tension after original director Amy Seimetz exited the series, with Levinson eventually taking over directing duties. Alleged issues included shoots that went over schedule, scripts that were submitted late, an over-budget production, and concerns over potentially misogynistic writing in the show’s new take.
Rolling Stone spoke to 13 sources who worked on the show for the report; however, in a post to his Instagram page published the same day as the report, Tesfaye implied that the publication’s motivation for the story has more to do with a personal vendetta than journalistic integrity. “@rollingstone did we upset you?” reads the caption of the post, which debuts a clip seemingly from the actual show in which Tesfaye and his co-lead Lily-Rose Depp claim that the storied magazine is “a little irrelevant.”
In the clip, “Schitt’s Creek” star Dan Levy plays a manager for Jocelyn (Depp), an up-and-coming pop singer who suggests she accepts a cover story offer from Rolling Stone. After Jocelyn’s boyfriend Tedros, a club promoter and cult leader, dismisses the publication as irrelevant, Depp pipes up to claim the publication is “past its prime.”
“Yeah, nobody cares about Rolling Stone,” Tesfaye’s character says in the scene before pulling out his phone. “Rolling Stone has six million followers on Instagram. Half of them probably bots. And Jocelyn has 78 million followers — all real. I’d assume. So she does a photoshoot, she tags them, they get her followers, more money for Rolling Stone, nothing for Jocelyn.”
“There’s a lot for Jocelyn,” Levy’s character protests. “Not in Rolling Stone,” Tesfaye’s character replies.
Tesfaye isn’t the first member of “The Idol’s” creative team to respond to the report; in a statement from Depp provided to IndieWire, the actor defended Levinson from criticism by calling him the “best director I had ever worked with:” “Never have I felt more supported or respected in a creative space, my input and opinions more valued. Working with Sam is a true collaboration in every way – it matters to him, more than anything, not only what his actors think about the work, but how we feel performing it. He hires people whose work he esteems and has always created an environment in which I felt seen, heard, and appreciated.”
HBO has also disputed the Rolling Stone report since its publication; in a statement to IndieWire, a representative for the channel claimed that “the creators and producers of ‘The Idol’ have been working hard to create one of HBO’s most exciting and provocative original programs. 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. … Throughout the process, 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. We look forward to sharing ‘The Idol’ with audiences soon.”
Watch the scene from “The Idol” below.
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