One of HBO's most anticipated future TV shows is Westworld, a reimagining of Michael Crichton's 1973 film of the same name that tells the story of a futuristic theme park.
Billed to be "a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin," the series - which was screened at the Television Critics Association Summer Tour this weekend - has reportedly sparked controversy for its depiction of sexual violence against women.
The Hollywood Reporter describes the sequence as featuring a lifelike female robot (Evan Rachel Wood) who is dragged off to be raped by a villainous character played by Ed Harris.
Attending the HBO panel was president Casey Bloys and the show's executive producer Lisa Joy who were asked increasingly tough questions about this moment.
"When we were tackling a project about a park with a premise where you can come there and do whatever desire you want with impunity and without consequence, it seemed like an issue we had to address," Joy stated.
Joy added that Westworld's depiction of rape was not intended as a "fetishisation of those acts."
Bloys elaborated: "The point in Westworld is they're robots. How [do] you treat a robot with human-like qualities? Is that reflective of how you would treat a human? It's a little bit different than Game of Thrones, where it is human-on-human violence. But to your larger point: is it something we think about? Yeah, I think the criticism is valid... I think the criticism is 'point taken' on it."
Devised by JJ Abrams and Jonathan Nolan, the sci-fi western's all-star cast includes Thandie Newton, James Marsden and Anthony Hopkins as the theme park's powerful creator.
HBO has confirmed the series will debut on 2 October with a UK airdate expected to closely follow on Sky Atlantic.
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