Netflix has removed a controversial scene from the first season of its teen drama series “13 Reasons Why” that depicts in graphic detail a character committing suicide. The scene debuted in the first season finale which, like the rest of the show’s initial run, was made available March 31, 2017 on Netflix. Several parent and family organizations, including the Parents Television Council, slammed the show for depicting a suicide in such graphic detail.
The scene in question showed Katherine Longford’s character Hannah Baker cutting herself in the bathtub and did not edit out the violence. Over two years later, the scene has been entirely removed from the episode.
“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 (via Variety). “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 scene in question now ends with Katharine Longford’s character starring at herself in the mirror. The episode then cuts to the character’s parents (Kate Walsh and Brian d’Arcy James) reacting to the devastating news.
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Along with the Parents Television Council, which has urged Netflix to cancel the show, the scene also sparked backlash from IndieWire’s own Jude Dry, who wrote in April 2017 that the show glorified suicide. “13 Reasons Why” showrunner Brian Yorkey and several writers have long defended including such a detailed depiction of teen suicide.
“From the very beginning, I agreed that we should depict the suicide with as much detail and accuracy as possible,” writer Nic Sheff wrote in Vanity Fair. “I even argued for it — relating the story of my own suicide attempt to the other writers.”
Sheff continued, “When it came time to discuss the portrayal of the protagonist’s suicide in ’13 Reasons Why,’ I of course immediately flashed on my own experience. It seemed to me the perfect opportunity to show what an actual suicide really looks like — to dispel the myth of the quiet drifting off, and to make viewers face the reality of what happens when you jump from a burning building into something much, much worse.”
The third season of “13 Reasons Why” will debut on Netflix sometime before the end of the summer.