“They Didn’t Let Her Talk…”: HBO Show “The Idol” Exposed For Exploiting BLACKPINK’s Jennie And More

Production crew is criticizing the show for many things…

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This article includes descriptions of graphic content and sexual assault that may disturb some readers.

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This article reveals plot details of a current movie or series.

Since it was announced last year that BLACKPINK‘s Jennie would make her acting debut in the new HBO series The Idol, created by The Weeknd, Reza Fahim, and Euphoria‘s Sam Levinson, BLINKs have been excited for her.

LILY-ROSE DEPP AS a glamorous, troubled pop star. The Weeknd as a slimy, modern cult leader. Supporting roles for Blackpink’s Jennie, Troye Sivan, and a handful of other buzzy stars. And in-demand director Sam Levinson at the helm. For months, the hype machine has been at full tilt for HBO’s upcoming series The Idol, which is being billed as a darker, crazier, and more risqué version of Levinson’s smash-hit Euphoria.

Rolling Stone


Yet, there are some serious concerns surrounding The Idol. 

Right off the bat, with the first teaser trailer, HBO was called out for cultural appropriation. It appeared that Jennie had been styled with cornrows.

The scene where Jennie has cornrows | HBO/YouTube

That’s not all, though. Levinson has a reputation for oversexualizing people, especially women, and The Idol was proving to be no better.

Now, a recent report by Rolling Stone proves that fans’ concerns were more than valid.

Levinson and Abel ‘The Weeknd’ Tesfaye are the ‘sick and twisted minds’ behind the ‘sleaziest love story in all of Hollywood’ (HBO’s words) that follows pop superstar Jocelyn (Depp) as she navigates the seedy underbelly of the music industry and falls under the spell of Tedros (Tesfaye), a mysterious owner of a popular L.A. nightclub who secretly runs a cult reminiscent of NXIVM and Scientology.

Rolling Stone

Lily-Rose Depp (left) and The Weeknd (right) in “The Idol” poster

Rolling Stone published a long article exposing how The Idol has gone horribly “off the rails.” While the show was always intended to be risque, “It was, let’s just say, a shitshow,” according to production sources since Levinson took over as director following Amy Seimetz’s departure.

The first public inkling of trouble came last April, when director Amy Seimetz, of The Girlfriend Experience and She Dies Tomorrow, suddenly exited with roughly 80 percent of the six-episode series finished. HBO addressed the news by confirming The Idol was set to have a major creative overhaul and would be adjusting the cast and crew. There was little explanation for the shakeup, except for reports that Tesfaye, who is co-creator, felt the show was heading too much into a ‘female perspective.’

Rolling Stone

Consequently, the release of The Idol has been delayed, and production sources report they have no idea when it will air as there have been numerous “delays, reshoots, and rewrites.” A source informed Rolling Stone that originally, the show was intended to premiere “last fall, taking over the Sunday time slot left open by House of the Dragon, which ended in October.” Now, the hope is for “later this year.”

In interviews with 13 members of the show’s cast and crew, Rolling Stone has learned the drastic delay was caused by Levinson taking over as director and scrapping the nearly-finished $54-75 million project to rewrite and reshoot the entire thing.

Rolling Stone


With Levinson in charge and Seimetz gone, The Idol has come to be about one thing: sex. There had been a meaningful message in The Idol, but sources say that the show’s nudity and “disturbing content” is even worse than his famous HBO series Euphoria, which says a lot. What crew have reported concerning the sexual content of the show is even more terrible than netizens could have expected.

‘What I signed up for was a dark satire of fame and the fame model in the 21st century,’ one production member explains. ‘The things that we subject our talent and stars to, the forces that put people in the spotlight and how that can be manipulated in the post-Trump world.’ However, they add, ‘It went from satire to the thing it was satirizing.’

‘It was like any rape fantasy that any toxic man would have in the show — and then the woman comes back for more because it makes her music better,’ one production member explains of Levinson’s version.

Rolling Stone


Still, that’s not all that was exposed concerning The Idol. Even Jennie’s participation was a topic of the exposé.


When the first teaser was released for The Idol, it appeared that Jennie might have been just a cameo role. But when more trailers were released, Jennie appeared prominently in scenes with the lead actress Lily-Rose Depp, so it looked like she had a significant supporting role.


BLINKs were pleasantly surprised to see Jennie’s acting debut would be more than a mere cameo. It also was exciting for the LGBTQIA+ community as her character was reportedly bisexual.

However, Rolling Stone has exposed that Jennie’s part is not as great as we thought. In reality, she was simply used for clout. It also wouldn’t be a surprise if we find out upon the show’s release that they even queer-baited audiences with her character.

Levinson then upped the cast’s star power even more throughout filming, with the additions of Bodies Bodies Bodies breakout Rachel Sennott, Dan Levy, Hank Azaria, Moses Sumney, and megaproducer Mike Dean. Casting K-pop superstar Jennie of Blackpink was the biggest get for Levinson. Under the show’s hashtag and teaser trailers, her stans steamrolled comment sections to cheer on the singer in her first acting role.

Rolling Stone


The Idol crew members revealed that Jennie, unfortunately, does not have much screen time, and her character doesn’t truly make a difference to the storyline, although there were reports that she was an antagonist. According to the source, she barely got to speak.

But crew members claim Jennie has barely any air time and an inconsequential story arc. ‘It was like three or four lines per episode for her,’ a production source says. ‘They didn’t let her talk that much. Her job was to sit there [and] look pretty, basically.’

Rolling Stone


So, it sounds like Jennie was really exploited. Considering the direction the show has gone, it’s rather unfortunate that she has to appear in it all. She doesn’t deserve to have her name attached to a show that is not only exploiting her but women, period.

Source: Rolling Stone

Idols Done Dirty