More than two years after the show first premiered, 13 Reasons Why is reportedly altering the controversial season one scene in which central character Hannah Baker dies by suicide. Ever since Netflix released the teen drama on March 31, 2017, the decision to depict a teenager’s suicide onscreen, not to mention the show’s premise in its entirety, has provoked criticism, with some flagging the series for potentially glamorizing suicide and purportedly causing an uptick in suicide attempts in young people.
Netflix did include a content warning before the episode, alerting viewers that the finale “contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing and/or may not be suitable for younger audiences, including graphic depictions of violence and suicide.” The original scene, initially defended by the 13 Reasons Why writers and showrunner, depicted Hannah cutting her wrists in the bath. Now, the scene will skip from Hannah entering the tub to her parents’ horrified reaction upon finding her body.
“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 in a statement. “As we prepare to launch season 3 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 1.”
Said Yorkey in his own statement about the cut, “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.” You can read his full comments below.
It was our hope, in making 13 Reasons Why into a television show, to tell a story that would help young viewers feel seen and heard, and encourage empathy in all who viewed it, much as the bestselling book did before us. Our creative intent in portraying the ugly, painful reality of suicide in such graphic detail in season 1 was to tell the truth about the horror of such an act, and make sure no one would ever wish to emulate it.
But as we ready to launch season 3, we have heard concerns about the scene from Dr. Christine Moutier at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and others, and have agreed with Netflix to re-edit it. No one scene is more important than the life of the show, and its message that we must take better care of each other. 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.