Netflix is adding warnings to episodes of 13 Reasons Why.
Adapted from author Jay Asher's best-selling young adult novel about teen suicide, the 13-episode show has garnered mounting concern from psychologists, educators and parents, some of whom say the Selena Gomez-backed show glamorizes suicide and could inspire deadly copycat behavior.
"There has been a tremendous amount of discussion about our series 13 Reasons Why. While many of our members find the show to be a valuable driver for starting an important conversation with their families, we have also heard concern from those who feel the series should carry additional advisories," read a statement released by Netflix.
Netflix noted 13 Reasons Why carries a TV-MA rating, but "moving forward, we will add an additional viewer warning card before the first episode as an extra precaution for those about to start the series."
The streaming service will also address vulnerable viewers by strengthening "the messaging and resource language in the existing cards for episodes that contain graphic subject matter, including the URL 13reasonswhy.info — a global resource center that provides information about professional organizations that support help around the serious matters addressed in the show.”
Meanwhile, stars of the show have spoken out, and 13 Reasons Why writer Nic Sheff recently defended the depiction of suicide in an op-ed published by Vanity Fair. "From the very beginning, I agreed that we should depict the suicide with as much detail and accuracy as possible," Sheff wrote. "I even argued for it — relating the story of my own suicide attempt to the other writers."
Sheff added his reasons for attempting suicide were different from those of the show's protagonist, but both "experienced a feeling of complete and utter defeat."
The writer detailed how a flashback of woman who shared her suicide attempt in rehab saved his life. "I stand behind what we did 100 percent," Sheff concluded. "I know it was right, because my own life was saved when the truth of suicide was finally held up for me to see in all its horror — and reality."
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