‘Euphoria’ Creator Accused of Ripping Off Yet Another Female Director

Eddy Chen/HBO
Eddy Chen/HBO

Euphoria showrunner Sam Levinson is once again being criticized for allegedly sidelining a female collaborator and reaping the benefits.

Only this time, the controversial director is also being accused of theft regarding his Emmy-winning HBO series. Likewise, many of his online detractors are sensing a pattern not only with the auteur, but with the premier cable network that employs him.

On Tuesday, a few Twitter accounts, including @Sydurbanek and @fiImgal, posted screenshots from a January profile of Canadian-Hungarian filmmaker, photographer, and actress Petra Collins.

Prior to Collins’ remarks about Levinson circulating on social media, the 30-year-old was being celebrated for her recent collaborations with Olivia Rodrigo, including directing the music videos for the pop star’s singles “Vampire” and “Bad Idea Right?” Now, her months-old comments about working with Levinson in the early stages of Euphoria are sparking outrage across Twitter.

According to the screenshots—the article has seemingly been translated from Hungarian to English—Collins told the Hungarian publication Punkt about being approached by Levinson to direct Euphoria, before he ultimately went on to direct the majority of the first season himself. Collins also claimed that Levinson told her the show was “inspired by [her] photos.”

“I moved to L.A. and worked for HBO for about five months,” she told the publication. “I was like, ‘I am directing the show.’ I created a whole world for it, did the casting, whatever. [And at] the last minute, HBO was like, ‘We are not hiring you because you are too young.’”

She continued, “A year later, I walked out of my apartment and saw this billboard [for Euphoria], and it’s exactly what I am, as a copy of my work. I started crying. I was so shocked. I mean, it happens to me so many times in my career but not on a scale like that.”

Neither Levinson nor HBO responded to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment. However, a source close to Levinson denied Collins’ version of their encounter, telling The Daily Beast, “It’s very widely known that Euphoria is a remake of an Israeli show.”

According to the source, Levinson merely offered to “throw her name in the ring” to be considered to direct the pilot.

“As a fan of hers, he was hoping there was a possibility they could work together in that way. But by no means was anything promised. That wouldn’t have even been possible for him to do because ultimately it’s the network’s decision,” the source said.

Collins did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.

‘Euphoria’ Season 2 Crew and Background Actors Speak Out Against Sam Levinson’s ‘Toxic’ Production

As with most publicized anecdotes about Levinson, Twitter was not pleased with Collins’ account, referencing his rumored firing of director Amy Seimetz on HBO’s now-canceled series The Idol.

Last year, during production for the series, Deadline reported that Seimetz had exited the show as a part of a “creative overhaul.” Originally, she was set to direct all six episodes, but Levinson, who was initially just a co-creator on the series, ended up with her role. At the time, sources also claimed that Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd, who starred in and executive produced The Idol, led these changes because he didn’t like the show’s “female perspective.” This story resurfaced in a viral Rolling Stone exposé about the alleged on-set chaos following Levinson’s takeover. Seimetz has yet to speak publicly on the matter.

While folks online are criticizing Levinson for his alleged treatment of female collaborators, some users are also drawing parallels between Collins’ experience and director Andrea Arnold’s tussle with HBO while helming Big Little Lies Season 2. According to a 2019 IndieWire exposé, Arnold, who directed the entire season, was initially told she would have total creative control of the show, only for Season 1’s director, the late Jean-Marc Vallée, to shape the season into his own distinctive style in post-production.

Primarily, though, it seems like the internet is frustrated with Levinson, whose public persona as a provocateur and allegedly unprofessional showrunner has been scrutinized online since Euphoria first hit HBO in 2019. Based on this latest controversy, it doesn’t seem like Twitter will be warming up to him any time soon.

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