Sydney Sweeney is calling out the double standard against actresses who do nudity, and she wants fans of the hit HBO show “Euphoria” to know she’s in control of her on-screen appearances.
Sweeney — who is most well known for her role as Cassie Howard in "Euphoria" — has also become a household name through TV series “The White Lotus” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.” But she said she feels like her performance in “Euphoria” has overshadowed the rest of her repertoire because she “got naked,” adding she believes there's “a stigma against actresses who get naked on screen.”
Following the release of the first three episodes of the show’s sophomore season, social media has erupted with criticism — and some praise — of director Sam Levinson and the amount of nudity in the show in general.
But in an interview with the Independent, Sweeney is setting the record straight that she has never felt uncomfortable while shooting “Euphoria,” partially because she challenged and questioned Levinson.
“There are moments where Cassie was supposed to be shirtless and I would tell Sam, ‘I don’t really think that’s necessary here.’ He was like, ‘OK, we don’t need it,’” Sweeney explained. “I’ve never felt like Sam has pushed it on me or was trying to get a nude scene into an HBO show. When I didn’t want to do it, he didn’t make me.”
She also recalled past projects where she hasn’t felt as comfortable as she does on set for the HBO show: “I’ve had experiences where I want to go home and scrub myself completely raw because I feel disgusting.”
“When a guy has a sex scene or shows his body, he still wins awards and gets praise,” she added. “But the moment a girl does it, it’s completely different.”
After speculation about Sweeney’s autonomy in shooting nude scenes for "Euphoria" went viral, other crew members are speaking out defending Levinson.
Jeremy O. Harris — a playwright and consultant for “Euphoria” — took to TikTok to dispel rumors about Levinson and misinterpretations of Sweeney’s interview with the Independent.
“It’s been really fun to see people talk about 'Euphoria' … what’s not fun is seeing people make up things about someone who’s very close to me, who’s been the best boss I’ve ever known,” Harris said.
He added, “It is one of the safest sets, one of the most fun sets I’ve ever been on. The intimacy director that works on that show is freaking amazing.”
Still, fans of the show are criticizing the amount of nudity in the show — not only from Sweeney's character but other characters as well.
“It is a little excessive considering they are supposed to be in high school,” a TikTok video recapping Sweeney's interview says in the caption.
One comment on that video got 30 thousand likes said: “The amount of nudity in this season is really excessive and no ones talking about it.”
Others took to social media in defense of the "Euphoria" style.
“It is HBO….” one user commented on the same video, referencing other nudity-heavy shows like “Game of Thrones” from the network.
Regardless of the show having too much or too little nudity, many fans were able to agree that it's incredible to see a rising star like Sweeney stand up for herself and challenge people in power when she's uncomfortable on set.
“Glad she spoke up!” one person tweeted, in part.
“Love how careful the Euphoria’s crew is careful to their cast,” one person wrote. “That’s everything!”
Another person added, “I'm so glad the coordinator respects her wishes and I love how she controls her characters !!! Go Sydney!”