The Weeknd called out over "weird" Selena Gomez references in The Idol

30 June 2023, 10:02

Lily-Rose Depp explains her role in The Idol

Sam  Prance

By Sam Prance

Fans think that many scenes in The Idol are inspired by Selena Gomez and Britney Spears.

The Idol viewers are calling out The Weeknd after spotting multiple "weird" references to Selena Gomez in his new TV show.

It's no secret that The Idol has been plagued with controversy. In March, Rolling Stone published a report in which members of production compared the show to "torture porn" and one person said that it was a "scarring" experience. Co-created by The Weeknd and Sam Levinson, The Idol tells the dark story of a fictional pop star named Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp).

READ MORE: The Idol's Lily-Rose Depp would 'steer clear' of The Weeknd when he was 'in character' on set

Now that the first episode has aired, people are accusing The Weeknd of exploiting his ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez. The Idol appears to take inspiration from real-life things that happened to Selena and fans are criticising The Weeknd for it.

Is Jocelyn in The Idol inspired by Selena Gomez?

Is Jocelyn in The Idol based on Selena Gomez? The fan theories explained
Is Jocelyn in The Idol based on Selena Gomez? The fan theories explained. Picture: Kevin Mazur/WireImage, HBO

In episode 1 of The Idol, we learn that Jocelyn is preparing a comeback after cancelling a tour due to a nervous breakdown. We then see Jocelyn posing for the cover art of her new single. In the photoshoot, Jocelyn wears little apart from a hospital bracelet she was given in rehab. There is debate about the bracelet but one of her team says "mental illness is sexy".

Instantly, fans drew comparisons between the scene and Selena Gomez's 'Bad Liar' photoshoot. 'Bad Liar' was Selena's first single after cancelling dates of her Revival tour for mental health reasons. In the original 'Bad Liar' single art, Selena wears a hospital band. The photo was taken after Selena had just received treatment for her lupus.

Given that Selena was dating The Weeknd at the same time as the 'Bad Liar' photoshoot, fans are speculating that he may have used her experiences to influence aspects of Jocelyn's character. Fans have also compares Jocelyn's relationship with her best friend/assistant to Selena's relationship with her best friend Raquelle Stevens.

A viewer tweeted: "also i love the weeknd but u can tell jocelyn’s character was inspired heavy by selena if i was her watching this i would sue bc wth [sic]".

Another wrote: "not the weeknd exploiting selena's trauma for the Idol plot. this is why we h88888 men. [sic]"

As well as Selena, people have made comparisons between Jocelyn and Britney Spears. However, Sam Levinson has made a point to deny the comparisons. At a press conference in Cannes, Sam shut down claims that Jocelyn is based on Britney, or any other real life pop star.

According to Deadline, he said: "We’re not trying to tell a story about any particular pop star."

He then added: "It’s a lot of pressure - to have to constantly be on, and to be what everyone wishes you to be. It’s a lonely life. We can all pretend that everyone is looking out for someone’s best interest, but I think fame really corrupts; it’s really easy to surround yourself with myth-makers who continue to prop us up."

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