Netflix omits controversial ’13 Reasons Why’ scene. Will it be enough?

July 16, 2019 - 1:02 PM
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13 Reasons Why
Gritty teen drama "13 Reasons Why" is adapted for web television series from a novel of the same title. The story revolves around a high school student who finds cassette tapes used as audio diary of his deceased friend before she took her own life.

Streaming giant Netflix will be cutting a disturbing scene from the first season of controversial series “13 Reasons Why” two years after it was released.

The move came as a response to criticisms against the show and its perceived role in the increase in suicide rates among its viewers.

In a statement released on Tuesday, July 16 (Manila time), Netflix said it is heeding the advice of medical experts in deciding to edit “the scene in which [fictional character] Hannah [Baker] takes her own life.”

Netflix also rolled out online resources on suicide, listing hotlines for suicide prevention and featuring a web video series discussing mental health.

Some responses to the statement on Twitter have not been cheery, including calls for the cancelation of the hit show altogether even as its third season is slated for release this year.

Influence

A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry in April this year found that the overall suicide rate among 10- to 17-year-old children in the United States increased significantly in the month immediately following the release of the show.

The researchers wrote:

“The release of 13 Reasons Why was associated with a significant increase in monthly suicide rates among US youth aged 10 to 17 years. Caution regarding the exposure of children and adolescents to the series is warranted.”

Explaining its decision to edit out the graphic three-minute-long scene the show’s first season, Netflix says it listened to its young viewers who cited “13 Reasons Why” as an encouragement for them to speak up about depression and suicide for the first time.

“No one scene is more important than the life of the show, and its message that we must take better care of each other,” showrunner Brian Yorkey was quoted as saying.

The move gained support from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the American School Counselor Association, among other organizations.