In a statement shared with her 56.7 million Instagram followers, and later with her more than 15 million Twitter followers, the actress urged would-be viewers of the drama to avoid watching it ahead of its Sunday, June 16 premiere should the graphic content be triggering.
“Just a reminder before tonight’s premiere, that Euphoria is for mature audiences. It’s a raw and honest portrait of addiction, anxiety and the difficulties of navigating life today,” the 22-year-old actress wrote hours ahead of the series’ debut. “There are scenes that are graphic, hard to watch and can be triggering. Please only watch if you feel you can handle it. Do what’s best for you. I will still love you and feel your support. Love, Daya."
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An American adaptation of the Israeli show of the same name, Euphoria focuses on “a group of high school students as they navigate drugs, sex, identity, trauma, social media, love and friendship.”
In the series, Zendaya portrays Rue Bennett, a 17-year-old opioid addict who recently left rehab and is struggling to stay clean.
The potentially triggering and graphic content that the actress had warned about was on full display in Euphoria’s debut episode, which left viewers stunned following a scene depicting statutory rape between a middle-aged man and an underage trans girl.
Although controversial, executive producer Sam Levinson stated prior to the series’ premiere that he was prepared for the backlash and was hoping that the graphic content would spark discussions regarding the real-life scenarios in the show.
“I feel like this is a debate that goes on constantly throughout time, where people go, 'Parents are gonna be scared,' and you go 'Yeah.' And young people will be like, 'Yeah, that's my life,'" he told Entertainment Weekly. “I'm sure certain people will be freaked out by it and other people will relate to it."
“I think what's different about this time is that at least pre-Internet there were more similarities between one generation and the next," he continued. "And now, I think that gap has grown in a very significant way. I think part of what's so difficult to try and navigate the world at this age right now is there is no map. There's no compass, there's no one to kind of guide you one way or another. Because it's a brand-new world every five years. I think that's what makes it particularly difficult is that kind of very real and big disconnect between parents and children.”0comments
“So if anything, I hope that it at least opens up a dialogue between the two because it's hard being a teenager,” he added. “It's difficult, especially too if you're struggling with addiction and battling those things. Hopefully it'll open up those means of communication."
New episodes of Euphoria air Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on HBO.