Canadian singer Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, who performs as The Weeknd, saw a song using AI-generated vocals that mimicked his voice rack up millions of listens online


  • The Weeknd defended his "despicable" character Tedros' controversial sex scene in "The Idol"
  • The singer said it isn't supposed to be sexy
  • "The Idol" lost over 100,000 viewers after its premiere

The Weeknd revealed that the controversial sex scene at the end of episode 2 of HBO's "The Idol" isn't supposed to be sexy.

The series faced backlash from viewers over the graphic sex scene, which featured The Weeknd's character Tedros, a shady club mogul, firing off sexually graphic commands at struggling pop star Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp) while she put her fingers inside her mouth.

The "Blinding Lights" singer, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, addressed the controversy during an interview with GQ Tuesday, explaining that "there's nothing sexy about" the scene and that it was meant to make viewers feel uncomfortable.

He insisted that the scene is portrayed in such a "gluttonous" way because Tedros "can't believe he's there."

"You look at him, and this is a score — Jocelyn might be the biggest score he's ever had. It's very obvious," The Weeknd explained. "He's over-indulging, he walks into this house looking around like, 'Goddamn, am I way over my head? This can be the biggest job I've ever done.'"

He added, "However 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."

The 33-year-old musician-turned-actor noted that his character "comes off like such a loser" in the sex scene and that it was one of "those moments are the humanity that you find in a psychopath, the chink in his armor."

"He's despicable, a psychopath — why sugarcoat it?" the "Starboy" hitmaker said. "There's nothing really mysterious or hypnotizing about him. And we did that on purpose with his look, his outfits, his hair — the guy's a douchebag."

The series, which The Weeknd co-created with "Euphoria's" Sam Levinson, has lost more than 100,000 viewers since its premiere. The first episode, which dropped on June 4, had 913,000 viewers. However, only 800,000 people tuned in to watch the second episode Sunday, Variety reported.

In addition to backlash from viewers, the TV drama also allegedly received criticism from within the cast and crew, with some calling it a "rape fantasy" prior to its release. International Business Times could not independently verify the information.

"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," an alleged crew member, who was not named, told Rolling Stone.

Another anonymous source told the outlet, "It was like, 'What is this? What am I reading here?' It was like sexual torture porn."

HBO has expressed support for Levinson's creative direction. In a statement released to Page Six, the network said: "The creators and producers of 'The Idol' have been working hard to create one of HBO's most exciting and provocative original programs."

HBO added that the "initial approach on the show and production of the early episodes, unfortunately, did not meet HBO standards," so the network and the production decided to make a change.

"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," it stated.

The Weeknd's co-star Depp previously told Entertainment Weekly that she avoided the singer on set when he was in "full Tedros mode." But she clarified that despite the series' dark theme, they had fun filming it.

The Weeknd
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 11: The Weeknd attends the premiere of A24's "Uncut Gems" at The Dome at ArcLight Hollywood on December 11, 2019 in Hollywood, California. Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic