The Weeknd is getting mocked for his response to Rolling Stone’s ‘The Idol’ exposé

A man in a suit and sunglasses
The Weeknd attends the LA. premiere of “Uncut Gems” in 2019.
(Richard Shotwell / Invision / AP)

Is the Weeknd mad at Rolling Stone, or is Rolling Stone mad at the Weeknd?

On Wednesday, the Weeknd, who serves as co-creator on HBO’s upcoming series “The Idol,” responded to a Rolling Stone article that claimed there’s trouble in paradise for the production.

The Grammy-winning artist, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, tweeted shortly after the exposé went live: “@RollingStone did we upset you?” along with a clip from the show in which his character shades the magazine.

The response was a retort to Rolling Stone’s scathing exposé that claimed HBO’s “The Idol” is plagued with issues. The investigation featured 13 sources close to the production who all seemed to share the same sentiment: “It was, let’s just say, a s— show.”


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Rolling Stone reported that the production suffered constant delays, reshoots and rewrites. And after Tesfaye felt the show was heading too much into a “female perspective,” original director Amy Seimetz abruptly exited. Then Sam Levinson signed on, and the show’s premise drastically shifted to something production sources said was offensive, likening the new version to a rape fantasy.

In the clip that the Weeknd shared in his response, his character from “The Idol,” Tedros, is snuggled up to Lily-Rose Depp’s Jocelyn while they talk with Dan Levy’s character, whose name has not been released.

“So Rolling Stone came back to us about a cover, and I think it’s worth pursuing,” Levy’s character says.

“Rolling Stone, aren’t they a little irrelevant?” replies Tedros.

“It’s a heritage brand. I think it’s fail-safe,” Levy’s character says.

“Yeah, I dunno. I feel like it might be kind of past its prime,” replies Jocelyn.

“Nobody cares about Rolling Stone,” says Tedros.

As far as burns go, the Weeknd seemed to have this clip ready and waiting. But the diss didn’t land well on social media, where Twitter users are slamming it.

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“The Weeknd (who appears to be playing a slightly exaggerated version of himself) and Lily-Rose Depp (who appears to be playing a slightly exaggerated version of herself) have both done a slew of magazine covers, including Rolling Stone!!” tweeted NBC tech reporter Kat Tenbarge.

@sarahdevin criticized the Weeknd’s response, quipping, “ad hominem arguments prob work well on set in a male-run rape fantasy biopic, but not so much as an official statement.”


“22.1K Quotes and 80% not on your side. Abel, maybe delete and pretend this never happened? Like, even if there are screenshots in the future... deny deny deny!” @sassygayroot quote-tweeted the original post.

And senior Rolling Stone writer Brittany Spanos tweeted, “mind you the weeknd soft launched his pivot [to] acting in a rolling stone cover story.”