Saturday 17 August 2019

Netflix removes controversial 13 Reasons Why suicide scene

The streaming service has deleted a scene from the season one finale after more than two years.

Netflix removes controversial 13 Reasons Why suicide scene (Netflix/PA)
Netflix removes controversial 13 Reasons Why suicide scene (Netflix/PA)

By Lucy Mapstone, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

A scene depicting a graphic suicide in teen drama 13 Reasons Why has been removed by Netflix.

The programme, about a teenage girl who takes her own life and details the reasons why in a series of tapes she leaves behind, won legions of young fans with its first series in 2017 but received criticism from mental health experts who expressed concern that it glamorised suicide.

The controversial scene in question occurs in the last episode of season one and shows lead character Hannah Baker, played by Katherine Langford, taking her own life.

Netflix said in a statement on Twitter: “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 three later this summer, we’ve been mindful about the ongoing debate around the show.

“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 one.”

At the time of its release, the streaming service had defended its decision to include the scene, which came with a warning for viewers that it “may not be suitable for younger audiences”.

Following the initial backlash, Netflix added information about crisis helplines.

Show creator Yorkey previously said: “We knew we would have to look at some of this issues in an unflinching way and it might not always be comfortable viewing, but, if we did it truthfully and honourably, that it would resonate with people.

“I hope that is what happened with young viewers and they have seen that we are trying to tell these characters’ stories, but also treat this issue as truthfully as we can.”

When life is difficult, Samaritans are available – day or night, 365 days a year.

You can call them free of charge on 116 123 or email them at jo@samaritans.org.

Whoever you are and whatever you are facing, they will not judge you or tell you what to do. They are there to listen so you do not have to face things alone.

PA Media

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