Zendaya has spoken out over criticism regarding Euphoria‘s portrayal of teen drug use, notably with her character Rue.
The HBO series has shown the character’s struggles with addiction throughout its run, notably in this week’s episode ‘Stand Still Like The Hummingbird’.
However, among those that have criticised the show lately is the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) programme, which recently argued the show has chosen to “misguidedly glorify and erroneously depict” aspects such as drug use (via TMZ).
Replying to the criticism, Zendaya told Entertainment Weekly: “Our show is in no way a moral tale to teach people how to live their life or what they should be doing.
“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.”
The star went on to note how Rue’s addiction journey – and its familiarity to those who know such struggles – will shape her character going forward.
“We can’t leave her here,” she continued. “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.”
Regarding the latest episode itself, Zendaya said her biggest hope “is that people are able to connect to it and those who need to heal and grow with Rue hopefully, by the end of this season, feel that hope and feel that change in her.”
She went on to reveal: “I’ve had a lot of people reach out and find so many parallels from all ages, all walks of life. 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 the most to all of us.”
Meanwhile, it was recently confirmed that season two of Euphoria is being watched by twice as many people as the first, moving from an average of 6.6million to 13.1million viewers.