Over two years after the episode premiered, Netflix has removed a controversial suicide scene from the season one finale of 13 Reasons Why. The edit was made to the teen drama, which is reportedly a ratings hit, after Netflix, creator Brian Yorkey, and the producers spoke to “medical experts, including Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention,” according to a statement released by the streamer on Tuesday.
“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,” Yorkey said. “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.” The original, hard-to-watch scene had (spoiler alert) Hannah taking a razor blade to her wrists; now it shows “Hannah looking at herself in the mirror before cutting to her parents’ reaction to her suicide,” according to the Hollywood Reporter:
Sources note that the decision has nothing to do with the content included in the upcoming third season, which will not feature another scene depicting a suicide. Insiders familiar with the viewing patterns of 13 Reasons Why stress that each season attracts new and returning audiences to the series who ahead of season three would have been exposed to the unedited scene. That, along with conversations with experts, helped inform Netflix’s decision to alter the footage.
Soon after 13 Reasons Why debuted, activists and health professionals were worried that the scene may have contributed to a spike in suicides among teens (as Variety reported, “A new study found that an increase in suicide rates among U.S. boys age 10-17 in April 2017 correlates with the release of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why in 2017″). Netflix CEO Reed Hastings responded to the controversy by saying “nobody has to watch it” (a warning was later added).
“No one scene is more important than the life of the show and its message that we must take better care of each other,” Yorkey added. “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.” 13 Reasons Why returns later this year.
(Via Hollywood Reporter)