“The Idol” Was Accused Of Delivering Us The “Worst Sex Scene In History” On Sunday, And Now The Weeknd Has Insisted That This Was On Purpose

The last 10 minutes of Sunday’s episode of The Idol was branded “the worst sex scene in history,” with The Weeknd’s character accused of having “all the energy and sexual enticement of Gollum scurrying for a fish.”

When the first trailer for the new HBO series The Idol dropped in July, it immediately caused a stir online.

Abel Tesfaye as Tedros and Lily-Rose Depp as Jocelyn in a car scene from The Idol

The series was created by The Weeknd, his producing partner Reza Fahim, and Euphoria’s Sam Levinson. The Weeknd, real name Abel Tesfaye, also stars as corrupt cult leader Tedros, alongside Lily-Rose Depp, who plays pop star Jocelyn.

Sam Levinson, Lily-Rose Deep, and Abel Tesfaye at the Cannes Film Festival

In the trailer, the show was advertised as being “from the Gutters of Hollywood” and by “the sick & twisted minds” of Sam and Abel — promising its viewers salaciousness and scandals.

"From the sick & twisted minds of" on the screen

But by March, The Idol had drawn heavy criticism after Rolling Stone published an exposé based on interviews with 13 members of the cast and crew. It detailed a tumultuous creative process and problematic rewrites that led to the project being described as “sexual torture porn.

Close-up of Lily-Rose as Jocelyn

One insider claimed that Sam’s vision for The Idol “was like any rape fantasy that any toxic man would have in the show."

Sam in a bomber jacket and sunglasses

Sam responded to the growing backlash at the series' premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, where he said, “Sometimes things that might be revolutionary are taken too far.”

Lily-Rose, Sam, and Abel at a press conference in Cannes

The reviews that came out of Cannes also fueled the controversy around the show, with a New York Times reporter describing it as “50 SHADES OF TESFAYE: A Pornhub-homepage odyssey starring Lily-Rose Depp’s areolas and The Weeknd’s greasy rat tail.”

Twitter: @kylebuchanan

Variety echoed that sentiment with, “Levinson’s worldview seems corrupt. It shouldn’t take degradation and suffering to make Jocelyn stronger. Euphoria audiences won’t be too surprised by the shameful way he treats Depp’s character, as both she and the show appear trapped under The Weeknd’s thumb.”

Close-up of Abel as Tedros laughing

So when The Idol finally premiered on HBO and Max earlier this month, those who did tune in were caught off guard by how decidedly lackluster the whole thing was.

Jocelyn sitting and wearing an open gown and stockings as Tedros stands in front of her and touches her leg

Things got even worse when Episode 2 aired on Sunday. The last 10 minutes of this installment showed Abel’s Tedros talk dirty to Lily-Rose’s Jocelyn as she masturbated in front of him before they had sex.

Close-up of Abel as Tedros leering

The uncomfortable scene was mercilessly dragged online due to Abel’s cringe-inducing performance, with one viral tweet reading, “the funniest part about this is how sexy he thinks he looks when he doesn’t look attractive like at all.”

Max / Via Twitter: @nothnghppens

Someone else added, “new episode of THE IDOL was actually really good until that 10 minute sequence at the end where the weeknd talks dirty to lily rose depp like he's in the most unbearably cringey porn and not you know.... a fucking TV SHOW. like ohmygod it is awful.”

Twitter: @twinsnakestwins

Another wrote: "Yes, this show is very bad. But it’s extra cringe when you remember that The Weeknd was there going 'yeah, DEFINITELY leave that in the cut. More of me doing that. It’s very cool.'"

Twitter: @elizaskinner

In fact, the whole thing was so awkward that British GQ published a damning article with the headline, “The Idol Just Gave Us the Worst Sex Scene in History,” and asking, “Seriously, has anyone involved in this show ever had sex?”

Close-up of Lily-Rose as Jocelyn with her eyes closed and her mouth open

The article heavily criticizes Abel’s acting choices, saying that Tedros has “all the energy and sexual enticement of Gollum scurrying for a fish.” Describing Abel's producer role alongside Sam, it calls the two men “2 children in a trench coat.”

Close-up of Abel as Tedros with his hand on his face

“To them, sex is as follows: ‘A woman gets so turned on because a man exists, then something messy and weird happens in the middle (We won’t say what it is, but trust us, we've definitely had sex before) And then finally, when it's all over, she lets them know that was the best time she's ever had,’” the article reads.

Close-up of Sam and Abel at the Cannes press conference

But Abel has now responded to the backlash — and insisted that the sex scenes are supposed to be uncomfortable, and viewers are meant to “feel embarrassed for the characters.”

Close-up of Jocelyn with Tedros resting his chin against her back

He also distanced himself from Tedros, whom he called “pathetic” and “such a loser.” In a new interview with GQ, the star admitted that there’s “nothing really mysterious or hypnotizing” about his character.

Close-up of Abel

“We did that on purpose with his look, his outfits, his hair — the guy’s a douchebag. You can tell he cares so much about what he looks like, and he thinks he looks good,” Abel explained. “But then you see these weird moments of him alone — he rehearses, he’s calculated. And he needs to do that or he has nothing, he’s pathetic.”

Abel as Tedros with a toothpick

Abel added, “He comes off like such a loser. Those moments are the humanity that you find in a psychopath, the chink in his armor.”

Close-up of Tedros and Jocelyn sitting together

Referencing the sex scene in Episode 2 specifically, Abel said, “There’s nothing sexy about it.”

Close-up of Abel in a suit jacket and wearing a necklace

“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,” he went on. “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.”

Jocelyn blindfolded with her arms raised

Abel went on to clarify that he is nothing like Tedros in real life: “The only way I could play this role was if it’s something completely different from who I am. And I can distance myself from that character. I wanted to make sure he looked nothing like me, acted nothing like me, just a totally different person.”

The Weeknd performing onstage

And while the star did insist that he is “loving” the reaction to The Idol, he also alluded to the negative response that it has been receiving on social media.

Jocelyn standing up in a car and wearing a bra top and pants

“I understand the internet a lot — and it’s tough to always be online because it’s so much,” he said. “I love to put it out there and take [the reactions] in, but I try not to obsess too much.”

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