A 'Rolling Stone' article recently said the HBO show had gone 'disgustingly off the rails.'
On Wednesday, Rolling Stone released a lengthy article claiming that the series -- helmed by Euphoria's Sam Levinson -- has "gone wildly, disgustingly off the rails" with regard to chaotic scheduling, going over budget and last-minute script changes and overhauls on graphically violent and sexual scenes.
In response, The Weeknd -- whose real name is Abel Tesfaye -- shot back at the report, sharing a clip from the series, in which The Weeknd's character -- a cult leader and self-help guru named Tedros -- slams Rolling Stone magazine for being "irrelevant."
The Weeknd threw additional shade in the caption, writing, "@rollingstone did we upset you?"
Rolling Stone editor-in-chief Noah Shachtman replied to The Weeknd's message with two recent covers featuring the artist, writing, "Not at all!"
In the Idol scene, Tedros is cozied up with pop star Joceyln (Lily-Rose Depp), as her publicist (Dan Levy) pitches the idea of Joceyln doing a photo shoot for the magazine.
"Rolling Stone? Aren't they a little irrelevant?" Tedros asks, before pulling out his phone to look at their Instagram. "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 photo shoot, she tags them, they get her followers. More money for Rolling Stone, nothing for Jocelyn."
"There's a lot for Jocelyn," Levy's character counters.
"Not in Rolling Stone," Tedros shoots back.
While The Weeknd appears to be claiming that Rolling Stone's negative report about alleged behind-the-scenes friction on set is something personal, HBO has also denied the claims made in the article in a statement to ET.
Specifically, claims regarding why the show's original director, Amy Seimetz, left the series, why several episodes were allegedly scrapped entirely, and how The Weeknd allegedly had a problem with the show heading toward having too much of a "female perspective."
"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," read HBO's statement. "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."
Depp also spoke out in defense of the series and Levinson, telling ET, "Sam is, for so many reasons, the best director I have 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."
Meanwhile, sources told TMZ that Levinson was brought on to replace Seimetz in order to craft a more adult story with mature elements, which is what The Weeknd and the show's creators had envisioned all along.
Several teaser trailers have been released for the series, which is slated to premiere sometime in 2023, but no specific date has yet been announced.