Following debate about whether a graphic depiction of death by suicide in the Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why was suitable for young and potentially vulnerable audiences, the streaming giant has decided to re-edit the scene from the show’s first season. The decision comes ahead of its Season 3 premiere in the coming months.
“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. As we prepare to launch Season 3 later this summer, we’ve been mindful about the ongoing debate around the show,” Netflix said in a statement sent to Gizmodo on Tuesday.
“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.”
The show, which premiered in 2017, is based on Jay Asher’s young adult novel by the same title and deals with sensitive depictions of sexual assault, bullying, and depression, among other topics. But it was the show’s graphic depiction of suicide and its lack of explicit discussion of mental illness that received widespread criticism, particularly after research published at the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry earlier this year linked the show to a rise in suicide rates among youth in the month after it was released.
A source familiar with the company’s decision to remove the scene said it comes with the understanding that the show’s streaming format means it’s accessible any time, and particularly as it prepares to launch a new season. The re-edited version of the episode from Season 1 no longers depicts the graphic method of death by suicide.
Brian Yorkey, the show’s creator, said in a statement this week that the thinking behind the initial decision to include it in the show’s first season “was to tell the truth about the horror of such an act, and make sure no one would ever wish the 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,” Yorkey added. “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.”
Lifeline, Australia's 24/7 crisis hotline is available at 13 11 14 and provides free mental health assistance and emotional support for those in need.