After much criticism, Netflix finally decided to remove one of its most graphic scenes from season one of “13 Reasons Why.”
It’s been two years since the premiere of “13 Reasons Why” on the popular streaming service. In the series, the main character, Hannah Baker, commits suicide and her death was graphically showcased in a three-minute scene in the season finale.
Baker’s character, played by actress Katherine Langford, is seen cutting her wrist while sitting in a bathtub. The camera focuses in on the teen girl as she screams to her death. Her mother is shown later rushing into the bathroom where she sees her daughter’s lifeless body lying in the tub filled with blood.
The National Institutes of Health funded a study in April which revealed there was a spike in teen suicide after the debut of “13 Reasons Why” in 2017. In March of that year, there was a 28.9 percent increase in suicides in America among pre-teens and teens.
The show creator, Brian Yorkey, slammed that claim in a column for The Hollywood Reporter, saying, “The show’s positive impact has been observed in numerous independent pieces of research."
However, after two years of debate, the creators decided to remove the graphic scene and show Hannah looking sorrowfully into the mirror. The clip then switches to her parents, who have just learned of their daughter’s suicide.
Netflix released a statement on Twitter, explaining why they pulled the controversial scene. They said expert advisers helped them come to the conclusion because they understand that each new season of the series brings new viewers.
Season 3 of the show is scheduled to premiere later this summer.
“Our creative intent in portraying the ugly, painful reality of suicide in such graphic detail in Season 1 was to tell the truth about the horror of such an act, and make sure no one would ever wish to emulate it,” creator Yorkey said in a separate statement. “But as we ready to launch Season 3, we have heard concerns about the scene from Dr. Christine Moutier at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and others, and have agreed with Netflix to re-edit it.”
The revised version he said, “will help the show do the most good for the most people while mitigating any risk for especially vulnerable young viewers.”
Many are praising Netflix’s decision.
“We support the decision to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from ‘13 Reasons Why,’” a statement on npr.org read. “There has been much debate about the series in the medical community. But this positive change will ensure that ‘13 Reasons Why’ continues to encourage open conversation about mental health and suicide prevention — while also mitigating the risk for the most vulnerable teenage viewers.”
More people reportedly die of suicide than homicide in America.
Among young adults, the suicide rate for people 18 to 19 years old is up 56% from 2008-17. Depression among 20- to 21-year-olds doubled between 2009-17, and anxiety and hopelessness among 18- to 25-year-olds jumped 71% from 2008-17.