Netflix is taking action. More than two years after a graphic suicide scene in the 13 Reasons Why season 1 finale caused controversy, the streaming giant has decided to edit it out.
“We’ve heard from many young people that 13 Reasons Why encouraged them to start conversations about difficult issues like depression and suicide and get help — often for the first time,” Netflix said in a statement to Us Weekly on Tuesday, July 16.
“As we prepare to launch season 3 later this summer, we’ve been mindful about the ongoing debate around the show,” the statement continued. “So on the advice of medical experts, including Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, we’ve decided with creator Brian Yorkey and the producers of 13 Reasons Why to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from season 1.”
In a separate statement, Yorkey further explained Netflix’s decision. “It was our hope, in making 13 Reasons Why into a television show, to tell a story that would help young viewers feel seen and heard and encourage empathy in all who viewed it, much as the best-selling book did before us,” he told Us.
“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. 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 showrunner continued. “No one scene is more important than the life of the show and its message that we must take better care of each other. We believe this edit will help the show do the most good for the most people while mitigating any risk for especially vulnerable young viewers.”
The nearly three-minute scene showed Katherine Langford’s character, Hannah Baker, looking in the mirror before slashing her wrists with a razor blade, followed by Hannah’s mother, Olivia Baker (Kate Walsh), finding her daughter’s lifeless body in a bathtub. The newly edited scene only shows Hannah looking in the mirror before cutting to her parents’ reaction to her death.
The suicide rate among teenagers in the U.S. surged in the month after the drama’s March 2017 premiere, according to a study by researchers at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Netflix responded at the time by adding more warnings about the show’s content. The company also created the website 13ReasonsWhy.info to provide suicide prevention resources and information.
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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