What's going on between The Weeknd and Rolling Stone magazine? The *sizzling* drama explained

It seems The Weeknd and Rolling Stone magazine have beef—here's what's gone down...

The Weeknd in a black suit, standing in front of red car as he performs for the 2021 Billboard Music Awards, broadcast on May 23, 2021 at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California./ in a red template
(Image credit: Getty Images/ Rich Fury)

Wondering what exactly has gone down between The Weeknd and Rolling Stone magazine? Here's a full debrief on the drama—from the initial, blistering article to The Weeknd's very public response...

After barely recovering from this Hailey Bieber and Selena Gomez drama, we have another high-profile beef brewing online—the latest being between The Weeknd, Rolling Stone magazine and the upcoming HBO series, The Idol.

Yes, it seems the new wave crooner is at odds with the iconic music magazine, with the singer sharing a teaser for his upcoming HBO series The Idol (in which he stars alongside Lily-Rose Depp), where he dubbed the publication 'irrelevant', with the accompanying caption: "@RollingStone did we upset you?"

This elicited a collective 'oooo' across the world wide web, as The Weeknd's post was a direct response to the magazine's explosive report—published on Wednesday, March 1, 2023—which saw 13 sources from The Idol's cast and crew describe to Rolling Stone the 'turmoil' going on behind the scenes, with one labeling the production, a "shitshow."

It's safe to say, we've got a lot to unpack—here's exactly what's happening between The Die For You singer and Rolling Stone...

What's going on between The Weeknd and Rolling Stone magazine?

So, this all stems from The Weeknd's upcoming HBO series The Idol, slated for a 2023 release (though there's no set release date, despite there now being three teaser trailers...), directed by Euphoria's Sam Levinson, who joined the project in 2022 after the sudden exit of Amy Seimetz.

The series stars The Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye) and Lily-Rose Depp—who previously dated Timothée Chalamet—and is described, in HBO's own words as the "sleaziest love story in all of Hollywood." A statement it seems, Rolling Stone agrees with.

The show has undergone a number of delays, including a change in direction, with Rolling Stone alleging that Levinson, upon taking over as director, scrapped "the nearly-finished $54-75 million project to rewrite and reshoot the entire thing."

The Rolling Stone's The Idol piece, titled, 'The Idol’: How HBO’s Next ‘Euphoria’ Became Twisted ‘Torture Porn' (published on March 1) included claims from 13 production and crew members, with one dubbing the production—with all its reshoots and rewrites—a quote-on-quote "shitshow."

Rolling Stone reports that a number of production sources labeled the show as 'offensive,' with many noting that the direction and tone of it shifted when Levinson took the reigns.

One source was quoted as saying: “What I signed up for was a dark satire of fame and the fame model in the 21st century, the things that we subject our talent and stars to, the forces that put people in the spotlight and how that can be manipulated in the post-Trump world," but they added, “it went from satire to the thing it was satirizing.”

In response to this explosive piece, The Weeknd took to Instagram and Twitter to share yet another teaser clip of the show, where Tedros (Tesfaye) and Joceyln (Depp) were depicted discussing the publication.

In the clip, we see Dan Levy's character suggesting Joceyln features in the magazine, to which Tedros says: "Rolling Stone? Aren’t they a little irrelevant?" Before going on to add: "Rolling Stone has 6 million followers on Instagram, half of them probably bots. And Jocelyn has 78 million followers, all real I’d assume. So she does a photo shoot, she tags them, they get her followers. More money for Rolling Stone, nothing for Jocelyn.”

Levy's character then quips, "there’s a lot for Jocelyn,” to which Tedros replies: “Not in Rolling Stone.” (ouch.)

The Weeknd then captioned the post with: "@rollingstone did we upset you?". See it for yourself below...

Since posting, Rolling Stone's editor-in-chief Noah Shactman replied on Twitter saying: "Not at all!", before sharing two of the singer's past Rolling Stone cover shoots.

Following the drama, Variety reported that a source claimed it was only the pilot that was entirely scrapped—before then sharing a statement issued by HBO, which read: "The initial approach on the show and production of the early episodes, unfortunately, did not meet HBO standards so we chose 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."

When does 'The Idol' come out?

As of yet, there is no official date for the new HBO show.

That being said, The Idol is still scheduled for a 2023 release, though there's still no specific date or month, for that matter. Though it's safe to say, we'll all be interested to see Rolling Stone's verdict on the show's final cut...

Naomi Jamieson
Lifestyle News Writer

Naomi is a Lifestyle News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team, where she covers everything from entertainment to fashion and beauty, as well as TikTok trends for Woman&Home, after previously writing for My Imperfect Life and GoodTo. Interestingly though, Naomi actually has a background in design, having studied illustration at Plymouth University but lept into the media world in 2020, after always having a passion for writing and earned her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ.

Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.