The recent episode of HBO’s controversial series The Idol has sparked outrage among viewers due to a distasteful joke about convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. The show, co-created by The Weeknd, Sam Levinson, and Reza Fahim, has already faced criticism for its explicit content and perceived poor acting. However, it was Episode 3, titled Daybreak, that went too far for many viewers.
In the episode, Eli Roth’s character, Andrew Finkelstein, remarks that Lily-Rose Depp’s fictional pop star, Jocelyn, is causing him to have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). He then adds, “I’m f–kin’ s–tting more blood than a kid at Epstein’s island.” This insensitive comment regarding the Caribbean island where Epstein allegedly trafficked and sexually abused young women and underage girls left viewers shocked and appalled.
Twitter immediately became flooded with criticisms of the show, with many expressing their disapproval of making light of child trafficking and sexual abuse. One viewer tweeted, “The Epstein’s Island comment was too far for me. Let’s not joke about child trafficking.” Another commented, “These are real victims with real suffering. CSA [child sexual abuse] should never be a punchline.”
The offensive joke was deemed “sickening” and “disgusting” by numerous viewers, who expressed their disappointment in the show’s creators and writers. Some even declared that the Epstein line was the most offensive thing they had ever heard on television. Former fans of the show admitted that the Epstein Island joke had ruined their enjoyment of the series.
While Lily-Rose Depp has been praised for her portrayal of a troubled singer attempting a comeback, The Weeknd’s acting has been heavily criticized as “comical” or even nonexistent. Prior to its premiere, “The Idol” faced accusations of being “torture porn” and a “rape fantasy” behind the scenes, which further contributed to its negative reputation.
Despite defending the show and its creators, Depp’s endorsement did not sway the growing wave of criticism. The fate of The Idol remains uncertain, with reports suggesting that the show’s future is in jeopardy. Although an HBO insider claimed that the network was not surprised by the backlash, the substantial loss of viewers by Episode 2 indicates the dissatisfaction among the audience.
The Epstein joke in The Idol has ignited a firestorm of outrage, with viewers condemning the show for trivializing a serious issue. The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of responsible and sensitive storytelling, particularly when dealing with topics as grave as child trafficking and abuse.