Netflix removes graphic suicide scenes from 13 Reasons Why after backlash

Teen drama was criticised heavily by mental health organisations upon release

Jacob Stolworthy
Tuesday 16 July 2019 07:11
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13 Reasons Why season 2 trailer

Netflix has deleted the controversial suicide scene in 13 Reasons Why two years on since the furore it caused.

Upon its release in March 2017, the series sparked a debate about whether it deals with the subject of teen suicide tactfully and was criticised heavily by mental health organisations

It was reported at the time that schools were issuing letters to parents warning them about the drama, which led to the show’s producers defending their decision to include the controversial scene.

Now, Netflix has revealed it’s taking “the advice of medical experts” and will revise the season one finale, in which the three-minute long scene originally featured, ahead of the show’s third season.

“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.

“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 to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from season one.”

The series centres on 17-year-old high school student Hannah Baker who dies by suicide, leaving behind 13 cassette tapes for 13 different people she felt were instrumental in her decision to take her own life. Hannah’s suicide scene is no longer available on Netflix.

About Netflix's decision, Lorna Fraser from Samaritans said: “We welcome Netflix’s decision to edit out the suicide scene from the first season of 13 Reasons Why. We raised our concerns over the content and have been working with the Netflix team here in the UK to provide advice on the safe portrayal of suicide, including viewer support and signposting to helplines such as Samaritans."

Fraser continued: “We would encourage anyone who is struggling to reach out for help. People can contact Samaritans for free from any phone at any time of the day or night on 116 123, or email jo@samaritans.org or go to www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch of Samaritans.”

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In response to the criticism of the show, its writer Nic Sheff penned an open letter in response to the criticism explaining the decision to show Baker’s suicide in graphic detail.

13 Reasons Why is one of several TV shows exempt from this year’s Emmy nominations, which you can follow along with – as they’re announced live – here.

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