Warning: This story contains spoilers from season 2 of 13 Reasons Why.
The backlash continues. After season 1 of 13 Reasons Why debuted on Netflix, fans and parents took to social media to share their anger about how graphic Hannah’s (Katherine Langford) suicide scene was. The same is happening with season 2 – this time, the backlash is a response to a graphic scene in the season finale.
After getting help for his anger, Tyler Downs (Devin Druid) returned to the high school only to get jumped by Monty (Timothy Granaderos). After getting his head slammed against the bathroom mirror and sink and stuffed in the toilet, he was then sodomized by the end of a broomstick, leaving him bloody and crying. The episode ended with Tyler heading to the school dance, armed with multiple guns. Clay (Dylan Minnette) stopped him before he went in.
While the beginning of the season, as well as individual episodes, included warnings of graphic material, fans still took to Twitter to wonder if the intense scene was necessary to show, even tweeting that it was “triggering” and that it should be canceled. In a new interview, creator Brian Yorkey explained the importance of the story and shared a message to those who felt offended.
“We’re committed on this show to telling truthful stories about things that young people go through in as unflinching a way as we can. We fully understand that that means some of the scenes in the show will be difficult to watch,” Yorkey said in a statement on Monday, May 21, speaking to Vulture. “I think Netflix has helped provide viewers with lots of resources for understanding that this may not be the show for everybody, and also resources for people who do watch it and are troubled and need help.”
He continued: “But the fact is that, as intense as that scene is, and as strong as are or reactions to it may be, it doesn’t even come close to the pain experienced by the people who actually go through these things. When we talk about something being “disgusting” or hard to watch, often that means we are attaching shame to the experience. We would rather not be confronted with it. We would rather it stay out of our consciousness. This is why these kinds of assaults are underreported. This is why victims have a hard time seeking help. We believe that talking about it is so much better than silence.”
Yorkery went on to note that after doing research, the writers were deeply disturbed to see the statistics on male-on-male sexual violence. “When we dug into that research, I think we were all astounded to find how many times this happened, this disturbingly similar story of a male high school athlete violating a weaker boy with some sort of instrument like a mop handle or a pool cue,” he explained.
The creator also added that in the first season, the graphic suicide scene “seemed to overshadow” the fact that both Hannah and Jessica (Alisa Boe) had been raped.
“If there’s a greater sense of backlash about this scene, especially it being hard to watch, ‘disgusting,’ or inappropriate, that goes to the point that we need to be talking about the fact that things like this happen,” he said. “The fact that this would be somehow more disgusting than what happened to Hannah and Jessica, I’m shocked but not surprised.”
13 Reasons Why season 2 is currently streaming on Netflix.
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