The latest episode of HBO’s Euphoria has stirred up controversy by depicting former One Direction band members Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles in an animated sex scene. After the episode aired, Tomlinson took the opportunity to briefly address the situation on social media. On Twitter, Tomlinson responded to a fan who was wondering if the One Direction members gave their approval for the sequence. “I can categorically say that I was not contacted nor did I approve it,” Tomlinson said in his reply.
The scene was set at a One Direction concert, where an anxious Tomlinson was waiting backstage before the show. Styles snuck up behind Tomlinson and seduced his bandmate, performing oral sex on him as the sequence turns surreal. The two are seen floating in the stars in a naked embrace.
A fan on social media asked: “I just don’t understand why this ‘Euphoria’ show had to use [Harry and Louis’] real names and show One Direction images? They could have made it clear who they were referencing without using names.”
Euphoria showrunner Sam Levison addressed the animated scene in an interview, explaining that he wanted to show the subjective perspective that Kat feels when she was writing the fanfiction. According to Levinson, “The idea behind it was a mixture of slightly rough animation and the surrealistic beauty of something like ‘Belladonna of Sadness,’ where you have animated images exploding into other things and there’s an element of surrealism to it.”
Levison added, “Personally, I find animation to be extremely difficult. I’d never worked with animation before. It’s just, the possibilities are endless. Which at times can be tricky. It’s like, ‘So, where do we want to take this next?’ And there’s a million thoughts that start to move through my head. It doesn’t have the same kind of confines as filmmaking, so it can be a bit daunting.”
After Sunday’s episode aired, Barbie Ferreira, the plus-size model and actress who portrays Kat, posted an Instagram photo of her squatting next to a cardboard cut-out of Styles. She captioned the image, “Tonight’s episode of @euphoria without context.” Fans of Tomilson and Styles responded to the image with outrage, voicing their criticism of the explicit scene.
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This will likely not be the last controversial scene in Euphoria. The drama series airs Sundays on HBO.