Something ominous is happening to the cast of Euphoria. In the span of a week, several of the show’s beloved cast members have found themselves at the center of online debate generated either by drama-hungry trolls or thoughtful critics, depending on who you ask.
On August 24, Hunter Schafer began trending on Twitter for appearing to agree with an Instagram post — penned by @piggytaiwan — essentially insinuating that non-binary people are to blame for some states barring transgender patients from accessing gender-affirming care such as hormone replacement therapy.
Schafer commented a series of exclamation points on the post, a pretty clear sign that she agrees with its sentiments. In response, critics quickly branded her a “transmedicalist,” a term that refers to those who believe that being transgender is contingent on experiencing gender dysphoria and medically transitioning.
It’s a complicated, nuanced subject — YouTuber Jessie Gender does a good job explaining what transmedicalism entails, how @piggytaiwan’s post relates to the issue, and why we should be focusing less on Schafer as an individual and more on facilitating conversations about why transmedicalism is harmful.
The dust regarding Schafer had hardly settled when, a day later, Barbie Ferreira announced her departure from Euphoria, a move that some predicted amid rumors of a feud between her and director Sam Levinson.
As news of Ferreira’s exit spread, the internet dug up screenshots of her old tumblr account, where she appeared to reblog several posts containing the n-word.
By the end of the week, another Euphoria star had entered the chat. On August 27, Sydney Sweeney posted a photo of her mother’s hoedown-themed 60th birthday celebration. One of Sweeney’s shots showed a relative wearing a Blue Lives Matter T-shirt, while a post by her younger brother, Trent, pictured family members in red caps reading “MAKE SIXTY GREAT AGAIN.”
Cue: a deluge of “where was Sydney Sweeney’s family on January 6th?” memes. The recently engaged actor replied to the controversy with a tweet that probably wasn’t reviewed by her PR team.
I’m not sure how Schafer, Ferreira, or Sweeney thought their internet activity wouldn’t come back to bite them, or at least generate a fair bit of online buzz. (I’m not in the business of speculating why anyone in this day and age can’t understand that everything you do online is public and forever.) I will say, though: at the time of publishing, Zendaya was absent from any and all Twitter discourse. Phew.