The Weeknd responds to The Idol backlash over ‘torture porn’ sex scenes

BANG Showbiz 3 Min Read
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The Weeknd
Canadian singer Abel Makkonen Tesfaye aka The Weeknd poses during a photocall for the film "The Idol" at the 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 23, 2023. (Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)
 
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The Weeknd has insisted ‘The Idol‘ sex scenes aren't meant to be “sexy”.

The 33-year-old singer and actor – whose real name is Abel Tesfaye – has responded to backlash over the intimate scenes in the second episode of the HBO show, with fans branding the series “torture porn”.

Asked if the scene in episode two was meant to be “overtly sexy” for viewers, he told GQ magazine: “No. There’s nothing sexy about it. When we use ‘Basic Instinct' as a reference, we’re using Verhoeven.

“Verhoeven is the king of ‘90s satire thriller—yes, there’s moments of ‘sexy' in his films but there are other moments that are very cheesy and hilarious.

“How ever you’re feeling watching that scene, whether it’s discomfort, or you feel gross, or you feel embarrassed for the characters.

“It’s all those emotions adding up to: This guy is in way over his head, this situation is one where he is not supposed to be here.”

Meanwhile, the star insisted the idea of not having a “consistent tone” has been deliberate.

He explained: “With this show, we love to play with the emotions. We’re puppet-mastering your feelings through the show.

“It’s never a consistent tone, and that’s on purpose. No matter how dark a scene is, you can find the comedy in it.”

His co-star Lily-Rose Depp, the daughter of Johnny Depp, also previously defended the show’s explicit scenes and creator Sam Levinson against accusations he has turned his new drama into “torture porn and a rape fantasy”.

She said at the Cannes Film Festival about her rising singer star character: “Jocelyn is a born and bred performer – and I think that extends to every aspect of her life, not just her professional life…

“I also think that the occasional bareness of the character physically mirrors the bareness that we get to see emotionally in her.

“I was given the privilege of being really involved in the creation of this character and the ins and outs of how she expresses herself.”


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