The Parents Television and Media Council has called for the cancellation of HBO’s music industry drama series, “The Idol,” citing its depiction of “torture porn” and “sexual abuse” as sinking into “such depravity.” As an organization dedicated to advocating for responsible entertainment for children, they have expressed concerns about the explicit and controversial content in the show, including lurid sex scenes that some critics argue depict male rape fantasies.
In addition to urging the cancellation of “The Idol,” the Parents Television and Media Council (PTC) has demanded that HBO’s streaming platform, Max, cease marketing the show to youth through social media. They have also requested that the streaming service tighten its parental controls, which currently have significant gaps, allowing younger audiences access to explicit TV-MA content like “The Idol” and “Euphoria.”
HBO has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment. However, it’s important to note that parental controls for the streaming platform are available within the app itself.
PTC Vice President Melissa Henson stated that “The Idol” has faced rightful criticism from TV critics due to its increasingly disturbing content involving “torture porn” and sexual abuse. She expressed concerns that the show has delved into such depravity that even its niche audience has turned against it. Henson called on HBO to distance itself from the program, which she believes glamorizes and excessively markets extreme sexual abuse to teens, urging the network not to renew it for a second season.
Despite the PTC’s assertions about the show’s content and audience reception, the premiere of “The Idol” garnered 3.6 million viewers, surpassing the premieres of other HBO series like “Euphoria” and “The White Lotus” during the same period. In 2019, “Euphoria” drew in 3.3 million viewers, while in 2021, “The White Lotus” attracted 3 million viewers.
It is worth noting that “The Idol” initially received an order for six episodes, but the episode count was reduced to five after the show underwent significant reshoots and creative changes when director Amy Seimetz left the project in April 2022. Sam Levinson and Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye took over the show’s direction.
Co-created by Abel Tesfaye, Sam Levinson, and Reza Fahim, “The Idol” follows the journey of pop star Jocelyn (played by Lily-Rose Depp) as she strives for a comeback after a nervous breakdown derailed her last tour, aiming to become the number one pop star.
HBO has yet to announce its decision regarding a potential second season of “The Idol.”