Zendaya hit back at “Euphoria” critics who have criticized HBO’s Emmy-winning, high-school drama series for glorifying drug use. The educational organization D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) put out a statement last month condemning “Euphoria” for “misguidedly glorifying and erroneously depicting high-school student drug use.” The series is currently airing its second season.
“Our show is in no way a moral tale to teach people how to live their life or what they should be doing,” Zendaya recently told Entertainment Weekly when asked about D.A.R.E.’s critique. “If anything, the feeling behind ‘Euphoria,’ or whatever we have always been trying to do with it, is to hopefully help people feel a little bit less alone in their experience and their pain. And maybe feel like they’re not the only one going through or dealing with what they’re dealing with.”
“I’ve had a lot of people reach out and find so many parallels from all ages, all walks of life,” Zendaya added. “So many parallels with Rue and her story and Rue means a lot to them in a way that I can understand, but also maybe in a way that I could never understand, and that means that means the most to all of us.”
In the full D.A.R.E. statement against “Euphoria,” the group wrote, “Rather than further each parent’s desire to keep their children safe from the potentially horrific consequences of drug abuse and other high-risk behavior, HBO’s television drama, ‘Euphoria,’ chooses to misguidedly glorify and erroneously depict high school student drug use, addiction, anonymous sex, violence and other destructive behaviors as common and widespread in today’s world.”
Zendaya also serves as an executive producer of “Euphoria,” and she told Entertainment Weekly that seeing how much Rue’s struggle resonates with people has shaped where the creative team will take the character in the future.
“We can’t leave her here,” Zendaya said, noting Rue’s withdrawal rock bottom in the fifth episode of Season 2. “It’s really important that there’s light at the end of the tunnel for her, because I think she has a lot of beauty inside of her. Whether or not she quite sees that yet, is her own thing.”
“Euphoria” airs new episodes Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max.