HBO Euphoria
July 10, 2019

HBO’s Euphoria Claims “Nudes are the Currency of Love” and Promotes Other Sexually Exploitive Themes

HBO is an American premium cable television network that has a long history of consistently producing content which normalizes rape myths, sexual violence, and commercial sexual exploitation through sexually exploitive depictions of sex and sexual violence. This has been displayed over the years through shows like Game of Thrones and The Deuce. After being named among our 2019 Dirty Dozen List, HBO knowingly continues this gross trend with the premiere of a new sexually exploitive and explicit show, Euphoria.

Euphoria is a teen drama, created by Sam Levinson, hoping to depict “modern-day adolescence as an unfiltered foray into drugs, alcohol, digital porn, and depression.”

The series is, unsurprisingly, getting a lot of attention on social media. Euphoria trended #1 on Twitter in the United States after the premiere episode and #3 worldwide, as many tuned in. In the show, the main character, Rue, shares her experiences with mental health and drug addiction. Along with this comes the normalization of “equal opportunity full-frontal” nudity and graphic sex scenes, many involving sexual violence. In one episode alone, “nearly 30 penises appear on screen.” The show seeks to normalize and glorify sexting, pornography, and violent sexual behavior as a regular part of teen life in 2019.

“I know your generation relied on flowers and your father’s permission, but it’s 2019 and unless you’re Amish, nudes are the currency of love,” Rue says. “Stop shaming us. Shame the dudes who create password-protected online directories of naked underage girls.”

Of course, this mentality fails to account for the reality that the majority of sexts are not kept private, thereby leaving the individuals involved inherently vulnerable to sexual extortion and abuse. It is grossly socially irresponsible to promote and normalize such risky behavior to young audiences.

It’s time to stop normalizing and promoting sexually exploitive trends in mainstream media. @hbo Click To Tweet

Euphoria is blatantly intended to shock the audience. The show purposely exploits actors. One reporter mentions “it’s gratuitous for reasons that don’t always seem necessary.” Creator Sam Levinson says, “There are going to be parents who are going to be totally f***ing freaked out.”

HBO programming president, Casey Bloy, “insists there has been no interference in the creative process on any HBO shows.” He claims, “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.”

HBO’s decision to greenlight sexually exploitive themes and scenes not only promotes these themes to viewers but it also forces actors to engage with these themes (despite the concept of “intimacy coaches”) or else they risk losing the role.

It was reported that cast member Brian “Astro” Bradley quit mid-shoot of the pilot episode because he was “uncomfortable filming certain scenes.” Entertainment companies like HBO are regularly requiring young actors and actresses to engage in sexual display or action that makes them uncomfortable.

We stand by the Parents Television Council president Tim Winter, who said the show “appears to be overtly, intentionally, marketing extremely graphic adult content – sex, violence, profanity, and drug use – to teens and preteens.”

Star, Zendaya, admits that “There are scenes that are graphic, hard to watch, and can be triggering.”

It’s time to stop normalizing and promoting sexually exploitive trends in mainstream media.

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You can also visit our page on why HBO’s on the Dirty Dozen List here.


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Aubrey Pound

Communications Specialist

Aubrey Pound is a communications specialist at NCOSE and helps the organization broadcast its message and mission on a national and international scale. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Public Health with a minor in Family Life from Brigham Young University. Her overarching goal in life is to do good in any way possible. Aubrey is passionate about protecting vulnerable populations, especially women and children, by bringing visibility to the struggles they unequally face in areas such as sexual exploitation. She hopes to pursue a graduate degree in the future.

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