Sunday’s episode of the teen drama featured a scene describing the NC-17-rated fanfiction that Kat (played by Barbie Ferreira) writes. Kat leads a double life as a fanfiction author famous for her Larry Stylinson stories.
The thing is, Larry Stylinson is not just a pairing made up for Euphoria. The couple portmanteau refers to Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles of One Direction, one of the most popular “ships” in One Direction fandom. Apart from describing the characters by name, Euphoria also shows animated avatars of Tomlinson and Styles having sex onscreen.
While some fans thought the scene was funny, others are angry on Tomlinson and Styles’ behalf. Historically, Larry Stylinson has not been limited to fanfiction. During their time in 1D, many fans went so far as to believe the two were in a secret relationship, and this subsection of fans were loud enough for Tomlinson, Styles, and the band’s management to hear. The episode, aired on HBO and seen by a lot of people who aren’t knowledgeable about One Direction fandom, has dragged a lot of discussions about the ethics of real-person fanfiction out into the non-fan public.
For his part, Styles has not said anything about the episode. He’s not a heavy social media user, and he hasn’t posted a tweet since May. Tomlinson, however, doesn’t think the scene was so funny. In a tweet replying to a fan, Tomlinson said that he was not contacted about the use of his name or image in the show, and he did not approve it.
In a 2017 interview with The Sun, Tomlinson admitted that the Larry rumors got in the way of his professional relationship with Styles. “It created this atmosphere between the two of us where everyone was looking into everything we did,” Tomlinson said. “It took away the vibe you get off anyone. It made everything, I think on both fences, a little bit more unapproachable.”
You can check out the controversial Euphoria scene for yourself here.