Netflix is taking action in response to the recent criticisms against 13 Reasons Why.
The streaming service has upped its trigger warnings for the teen drama based on Jay Asher’s best-selling book of the same name, which centers on Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) and the 13 cassette tapes she leaves behind after committing suicide.
While the first-year drama, executive produced by Selena Gomez, has been praised for bringing awareness to traumas facing teens, including suicide and sexual assault, it has also faced criticism for its graphic portrayal of both, particularly when the Hannah character takes her own life in the series. Many have argued that the show glorifies suicide and doesn’t offer an alternative to it.
In reaction to these concerns, Netflix issued a statement Monday (May 1), saying that it is adding more warnings to the series. In addition to the warnings that were already in place for the three episodes that feature graphic rape scenes and Baker’s suicide, a new warning card will precede the beginning of the series.
“While many of our members find the show to be a valuable driver for starting important conversation with their families, we have also heard concern from those who feel the series should carry additional advisories,” the streaming giant said in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter on Monday. “Currently the episodes that carry graphic content are identified as such and the series overall carries a TV-MA rating. Moving forward, we will add an additional viewer warning card before the episode as an extra precaution for those about to start the series.”
Recently, cast members Alisha Boe, Brandon Flynn and Miles Heizer spoke with THR defending the series. On the graphic rape scenes as well as the suicide scene Boe said, “It shouldn’t be censored at all. If you just brush over the suicide scene, the audience will think that it was easy.”
Series creator Brian Yorkey also recently defended the graphic nature of Hannah’s suicide when speaking with THR: “As difficult as it is to watch, it should be difficult to watch. If we make it easy to watch, then we’re selling good we didn’t want to sell.”
In the weeks following the show’s March 31st premiere, concerns about the show’s graphic portrayal of suicide have also extended to schools across the country, several of which have sent out warning letters to parents about exposing underage students to the series.
In addition to the 13-episode first season, Netflix also produced an after show, Beyond the Reasons, that dives deeper in the sensitive topics explored in the drama, as well as a website, 13ReasonsWhy.info, to help viewers find local mental health resources.
There has been a tremendous amount of discussion about our series 13 Reasons Why. While many of our members find the show to be a valuable driver for starting important conversation with their families, we have also heard concern from those who feel the series should carry additional advisories. Currently the episodes that carry graphic content are identified as such and the series overall carries a TV-MA rating. Moving forward, we will add an additional viewer warning card before the first episode as an extra precaution for those about to start the series and have also strengthened the messaging and resource language in the existing cards for episodes that contain graphic subject matter, including the URL 13ReasonsWhy.info – a global resource center that provides information about professional organizations that support help around the serious matters addressed in the show.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.