Netflix is making changes to a controversial 13 Reasons Why scene ahead of the show's third season. The teen drama famously centres around a group of high school kids who are impacted by a series of exposing cassette tapes left behind by Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), a classmate who killed herself weeks before the tapes' release. Hannah's graphic suicide scene became a highly contested topic of conversation for viewers, and now, more than two years after its depiction, Netflix has decided to edit it out.
"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 to The Hollywood Reporter. "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."
Originally, the season one finale scene (which was nearly three minutes long) showed Hannah graphically slitting her wrists in a bathtub before her parents found her body. After some initial backlash, Netflix added an updated trigger warning to the series and eventually decided to remove the scene all together. The newly edited scene now shows Hannah looking in a mirror before cutting to a scene of her parents, implying her suicide. The streaming service will allegedly also be on the lookout for pirated clips that may surface showing the original scene.
"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," showrunner Brian 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. 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," he continued. "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."