Game of Thrones may be gone, but HBO is keeping network controversy alive via its other original shows. Euphoria has made headlines for the surprising amount of penises it features, and now is making news again due to One Direction's Louis Tomlinson. Unfortuantely, he didn't post a review or praise of Zendaya's performance, but rather confirmed to a fan that the series used his and Harry Styles' names and likenesses without his permission.
Which may not have even been a huge deal, if Euphoria didn't use the two men as the subjects of a sexually explicit fan-fiction in which the former band mates Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles had a romantic encounter. The story, which was written by one of the show's characters Kat, was accompanied by an animation that showed some foreplay between Tomlinson and Styles. While fans wondered if this was something either man signed off on, Louis Tomlinson confirmed he was not contacted.
Louis Tomlinson confirmed that while someone may have signed off for his likeness to be in Euphoria, he wasn't explicitly asked about it and didn't approve it. Tomlinson's response was amidst a sea of complaints from fans, some of whom were more upset about how the fan fiction represented the One Direction fandom. In Euphoria, Kat's 1D erotica became a viral sensation, and turned her into an internet celebrity with tens of thousands of followers reading her work.
As for Harry Styles, he hasn't said anything about the Euphoria animation just yet, and he's usually not one to shy away from uncomfortable questions. Louis Tomlinson's reply only happened a day after the episode's premiere though, so there's a chance Styles has been too busy to check his social media and see the fans and and tabloids wondering what he thinks. After all, it's not every day explicit fan fictions about celebrities make their way into the mainstream.
And make no mistake, Euphoria's animation did push the envelope a bit. While no genitalia was shown, the animated Harry Styles is shown performing oral sex on on the animated Louis Tomlinson. After that, the two are up in the stars in a really colorful sequence, and then engage in what many may know as the "69" position. Below them, an animated and doe-eyed version of Kat watches them in awe.
According to Euphoria’s producer and writer Sam Levinson (via The Los Angeles Times), the purpose of the scene was not to imply there's a gay relationship between Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson, nor insult the One Direction fan base. In fact, it has relatively little to do with either in the grand scheme of things, and was more about portraying teenagers exploration of sexuality through a lesser celebrated creative outlet.
Something that I thought was a fascinating or exciting idea was to take this burgeoning curiosity about sexuality that’s ultimately framed through the lens of fan fiction and allow it to come to life … It’s sort of what Kat’s dream would be if she could see an animation of one of her stories. That was the impetus behind it. It’s sort of allowing her wishes to come true.
Louis Tomlinson has spoken out on Euphoria’s scene, but will that be the end of it? Fan fiction is legal (and lucrative) in a lot of cases, although things tend to get a bit murky when money is involved. We don’t know the details of this case and if permissions were obtained to use Tomlinson or Harry Styles' likenesses, but it will be interesting to see how the story progresses should either former One Direction singer seek legal action.
Euphoria airs on HBO Sundays at 10:00 p.m. ET. Stick with CinemaBlend for the latest news in what’s going on in television and movies.