Netflix deletes graphic suicide scene in ‘13 Reasons Why’ 2 years after outcry Published on July 17, 2019 at 12:53AM by Allyson Chiu, The Washington Post
For more than two years, Netflix faced backlash for including a graphic suicide scene in the first season of its hit show “13 Reasons Why,” raising concerns about whether the teen drama’s contents may be harmful to young audiences. On Tuesday, the show announced the scene has been deleted.
“No one scene is more important than the life of the show, and its message that we must better take care of each other,” the show’s creator, Brian Yorkey, said in a statement shared to Twitter after midnight. “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.”
The fictional series, which premiered in March 2017 and is now on the cusp of a third season, includes raw portrayals of sensitive subjects such as teen suicide, sexual assault and substance abuse. It is based on a young adult novel of the same name by Jay Asher.
Much of the criticism, however, initially stemmed from a nearly three-minute-long scene in Season 1 that depicted the show’s main character, 17-year-old Hannah Baker, committing suicide. The scene was originally part of the season finale and showed Hannah, played by actress Katherine Langford, taking a razor blade to her arm, screaming as blood poured from the cut. The camera then stayed on Hannah as she took her last breaths and reddish water spilled over the top of the tub.
By early Tuesday, the gut-wrenching scene had already been removed from the episode. Now, viewers only see Hannah breathing shakily as she stares into a bathroom mirror and the aftermath of her parents finding her body.
The decision to edit the episode was made in part due to feedback from experts such as Christine Moutier, chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), Netflix said in a statement on Twitter.