The Weeknd Wants You to Know He’s NOT Mad About That Damning Rolling Stone Report

The Weeknd/Twitter
The Weeknd/Twitter

The Weeknd is firing back at Rolling Stone following an explosive report about the behind-the-scenes drama delaying his and Sam Levinson’s upcoming HBO show The Idol.

On Wednesday, Rolling Stone published a lengthy exposé (titled “‘The Idol’: How HBO’s Next ‘Euphoria’ Became Twisted ‘Torture Porn’”) detailing the production chaos that’s been swirling since last year, when Deadline reported that co-creator Levinson would be replacing The Idol’s initial director, Amy Seimetz. Sources for the article also revealed some shocking script ideas from the controversial Euphoria showrunner involving rape and domestic violence.

After the story ignited a firestorm online, The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, wanted to make it clear that he’s unbothered by all of the chatter. (To be fair, the lion’s share of Twitter comments have been aimed at Levinson as opposed to him.) He did so by sharing an oddly prescient clip from The Idol on his Twitter and Instagram accounts in which his Idol character questions the appeal of a Rolling Stone cover, calling the magazine “irrelevant.”

The scene shows Tesfaye and Lily-Rose Depp, playing a burgeoning pop singer named Jocelyn, sitting poolside across from Dan Levy, who appears to portray a publicist. When the Schitt’s Creek star tells Tedros, who’s Jocelyn’s manager/love interest, about a cover story opportunity with Rolling Stone, the two are less than impressed; in fact, Tesfaye’s character seems borderline insulted by the pitch.

“I feel like it might be kind of past its prime,” Jocelyn says about the legacy publication.

“Nobody cares about Rolling Stone,” Tedros bluntly echoes, pulling out his phone to note that the magazine only has 6 million followers on Instagram (“most of them probably bots,” he quips), compared to Jocelyn’s 78 million.

“So she gets a photoshoot,” Tedros says. “They tag her—more money for Rolling Stone, nothing for Jocelyn.”

“There’s a lot for Jocelyn,” Levy’s character retorts.

“Not in Rolling Stone,” the manager snaps back.

End scene. The clip is a bit… cringey, to say the least, and curiously pertinent to the ongoing scandal. The whole thing is also ironic given that the “Blinding Lights” singer has appeared on Rolling Stone’s cover several times, most recently in 2020 to promote his hit album After Hours.

The Weeknd’s HBO Max Series Promises Sex, Singers, and Plenty of Sleaze

His posts featured the spicy caption “@rollingstone did we upset you?”—although, based on the article, it seems like The Idol’s employees are the ones upset here. The Weeknd’s posts notably did not address any of the concerns raised by crew members over Levinson’s alleged failures as a showrunner, his troubling story ideas, or the accusations that Tesfaye didn’t like the show’s “female perspective” under Seimetz.

Despite HBO releasing multiple teasers, The Idol still does not have a premiere date, presumably because of all the on-set shenanigans and Levinson’s propensity for last-minute changes. Thanks to this whole fiasco, though, it seems like the press tour will at least be entertaining.

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