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Zendaya Says ‘Euphoria’ Is ‘In No Way a Moral Tale’ Following D.A.R.E. Criticism

The HBO series has faced accusations of glorifying ”destructive behaviors“

Zendaya has a word of caution for “Euphoria” audiences after the show faced criticism from the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program (D.A.R.E.). 

In a recent statement, the organization said the HBO series “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.”

However, the series’ star disagrees. In an interview with “Entertainment Weekly,” Zendaya, who plays Rue Bennett, a high school student who struggles with drug addiction, said that the 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,” she continued. “And maybe feel like they’re not the only one going through or dealing with what they’re dealing with.”

Rue’s struggle with addiction came to a head in the most recent episode, “Stand Still Like the Hummingbird.” As the season moves forward, Zendaya assured viewers that there is still hope for her character’s recovery.

“We can’t leave her here,” the actress said of episode 5. “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.”

Representatives for D.A.R.E. and HBO did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

Zendaya, who is also an executive producer on “Euphoria,” has previously warned viewers about the show’s mature content.

Ahead of the season 2 premiere, she advised on social media that audiences only watch the show if they felt “comfortable” with the subject matter.

“I know I’ve said this before, but I do want to reiterate to everyone that ‘Euphoria’ is for mature audiences,” she wrote. “This season, maybe even more so than the last, is deeply emotional and deals with subject matter that can be triggering and difficult to watch.” 

“Euphoria” airs Sundays on HBO and HBO Max.