HBO receives backlash for explicit content in high school drama series

Television program network and production giant HBO is under fire for pushing sexual boundaries in its upcoming series, Euphoria. The television drama is centered on a group of high school students “as they navigate love and friendships in a world of drugs, sex, trauma, and social media,” according to the show’s logline.

The intensely graphic content of the show is reportedly so disturbing that an actor had to quit after shooting scenes for the pilot episode. According to The Hollywood Reporter:

“While shooting the pilot, actor Brian “Astro” Bradley, 22, a former X Factor contestant and rapper signed to Nas’ label, wanted out of the show. Details surrounding his exit are fiercely guarded, but sources say Bradley was uncomfortable shooting scenes that weren’t in the original pilot script and suggested his character would experiment with homosexuality in future episodes.”

The Hollywood Reporter gave out details of the show’s premiering episode saying there were “close to 30 penises flash onscreen” and one character “commits statutory rape with a 17-year-old trans girl” while Zendaya, is shown abusing illegal drugs.

Now, the Parents Television Council of America is putting HBO under harsh criticism for the show’s risqué material. Council President Tim Winter said in a press release:

“HBO, with its new high school centered show ‘Euphoria,’ appears to be overtly, intentionally, marketing extremely graphic adult content – sex, violence, profanity and drug use – to teens and preteens.”

Despite HBO’s intention to show the series to adult audiences, Winter claims the concept “was entirely refuted by the showrunner because [Levinson] said that ‘parents will freak over this show.’ That is a demonstration of who he is targeting with this show. HBO is now internationally marketing this content to children.” Winter is demanding HBO’s parent company AT&T to stop the series from airing.

HBO programming president Casey Bloys admitted “No one has come to us and said, ‘Hey, tone this down,'”

“The only thing they’ve done is given us more money and said, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing.'”

Ben Hornery
Ben Hornery
Ben is is a senior journalist and sport columnist for Best in Australia. He previously worked for the BC and other radio stations.
Share this