Netflix has decided to reshape a key scene from the first season of controversial drama series 13 Reasons Why; a moment that hit screens over two years ago.
The moment that’s receiving a big re-edit is the suicide of Hannah Baker, played by Katherine Langford. The scene had Hannah looking into the mirror and deciding to end her life, which we then see her do in graphic detail. We then see her mother (played by Kate Walsh) find 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 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 act of the suicide itself and the aftermath has now been removed. Instead, we now get to see Hannah looking into the mirror, and then it cuts to her parents reacting to her suicide.
“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 best-selling book did before us,” series creator Brian Yorkey said in a statement.
“Our creative intent in portraying the ugly, painful reality of suicide in such graphic detail in season one 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 three, 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.”
The series was both praised and criticised for its depiction of youth issues and suicide. Some of the backlash was quite strong, fueled by certain studies, such as one from the US Nationwide Children’s Hospital that found that teen suicide rates saw a spike after the show’s arrival.
13 Reasons Why season 3, which reportedly will not have a suicide scene, will be hitting Netflix later this year.
(Australia’s crisis support and suicide prevention services: Lifeline 13 11 14 and Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467)