HBO is pushing boundaries with its controversial new teen drama Euphoria. Before the series premiered Sunday night, its star Zendaya posted a warning on social media letting viewers know the content is difficult to watch.
“Euphoria is for mature audiences. It’s a raw and honest portrait of addiction, anxiety and the difficulties of navigating life today,” the actress wrote in a statement on Instagram. “There are scenes that are graphic, hard to watch and can be triggering.”
The former Disney star went on to advise viewers the show isn’t for everyone.
“Please only watch if you think you can handle it,” she said. “Do what’s best for you. I will still love you and feel your support.”
Zendaya stars as Rue, a 17-year-old recovering drug addict, in the drama about a group of high school students navigating love and friendship in a world of drugs, sex, trauma, and social media.
Rounding out the ensemble cast are Maude Apatow, Angus Cloud, Eric Dane, Alexa Demie, Jacob Elordi, Barbie Ferreira, Nika King, Storm Reid, Hunter Schafer, Algee Smith and Sydney Sweeney.
The material pushes the limits so far that 22-year-old rapper and actor Brian “Astro” Bradley quit while filming the pilot, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Last week the Parents Television Council, a TV watchdog group, issued a warning of its own calling HBO’s decision to air the series “grossly irresponsible.”
“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,” said PTC President Tim Winter.
Euphoria is an American adaptation of an Israeli show by the same name. It’s created and written by Sam Levinson (Assassination Nation).
Rapper Drake and his manager Future the Prince, real name Adel Nur, serve as executive producers.
Euphoria airs Sunday nights on HBO.