13 Reasons Why creator defends graphic male rape scene
Brian Yorkey said he felt the show had a “responsibility” to tell the story.
The creator of 13 Reasons Why has defended the show’s graphic male rape scene and said producers had a “responsibility” to deal with the issue.
Season two of the Netflix series contains an episode where one student is attacked by three others before being assaulted with a mop handle.
The disturbing scene sparked a backlash from fans, who claimed it was too graphic.
But the show’s creator Brian Yorkey has defended the episode, saying writers had a “responsibility” to explore the issue of male sexual assault.
Speaking at a Netflix panel in Los Angeles, he described the process of how the storyline came about, explaining a writer brought in a news report of a student athlete sexually assaulting a weaker classmate with a pool cue.
Though the rest of the team initially thought the incident was too “sensational”, Yorkey said when they researched the subject they found “dozens” of similar cases over the last five years.
He said: “And that is just the instances that were reported. We know that sexual assault is hugely under-reported, sexual assault with male victims is exponentially more under-reported than even sexual assault in general.
“And as a show that had already said we are going to tell the stories of sexual assault victims and survivors, and we’re going to tell them in a way that is unflinching and honest, we said, wow, not only does this seem a credible story to be told but in a way we felt there was an imperative to tell it. Because no-one was telling it.”
Yorkey then quoted statistics claiming one in six men will become victims of sexual assault, adding: “That was a story that wasn’t being told, it was a story that is happening in high schools today and we felt we not only had the opportunity but the responsibility to tell it.”
Also speaking at the panel was Australian actress Katherine Langford, who plays the character of Hannah Baker.
Baker’s suicide is the trigger for the entire series, but it had previously been hinted she would not be returning for a possible third season and Langford posted on Instagram to say goodbye to the character.
"Hannah...I love you...and I let you go" Those are the words I was able to say six months ago, and now can finally share with you as my journey on @13reasonswhy has officially come to an end...as most of you know, this was my first ever job and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to tell Hannah's story so fully in season 1, and to be asked back for a season 2. Thankyou to @netflix @paramountpics @anoncontent , the incredible producers, creatives, cast and crew for making these last 2 years so special. And to all of you here - Thankyou for filling my life with love and light 🙏 This show will always be a special part of my life, and regardless of whether Hannah is there or not, I know that I will continue to strive to do work that is meaningful and has a positive impact - whether that be in film, music, or any other form of art. There is a lot coming up this next year, and I can't wait to share it with you 💖 #hannahbaker
When asked about the character, Langford, 22, said: “When we finished season two, it really felt like we were saying goodbye to Hannah. And I think overall it felt like time. I think 13 Reasons Why will always be a special part of my life, and I mean that sincerely.
“Despite the fact she won’t be in season three, if the show gets picked up for a season three, I know for myself I will always carry her story with me and the incredible story I’ve had and able to share with this cast, the creatives and these fans.”