Netflix courted controversy in 2017 with its adaptation of the Young Adult novel 13 Reasons Why by author Jay Asher. 13 Reasons Why follows teenager Clay Jensen (played by Dylan Minette), who is left shaken after the death of his friend Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) after she takes her own life. Clay is given a box of audio cassettes recorded by Hannah before her death. Each of the tapes contains the reasons behind Hannah’s death and who she holds responsible.
Netflix faced heavy criticism at the time the show was released for the graphic scenes depicting Hannah’s suicide, as well as her rape at the hands of Bryce Walker (Justin Prentice).
In response to the censure over season one, for season two Netflix introduced a warning video message from the cast at the start of each episode.
The video saw the stars of 13 Reasons Why discussing the issues explored in the drama and advising viewers about whether to watch the show.
Actress Alisha Boe, who plays Jessica Davis in the series, said on the video: “If you are struggling with these issues yourself, this series may not be right for you, or you may want to watch it with a trusted adult.”
While Minnette said: “If you ever feel you need someone to talk with, reach out to a friend. Call a helpline, or go to 13reasonswhy.info.”
Netflix also introduced a website 13reasonswhy.info which has helplines, resources and details of organisations for suicide prevention and others support groups.
The website features information not only for American viewers but also for audiences across the globe.
Why has Netflix edited Hannah Baker scene 2 years after release?
Two years since season one aired, Netflix has now taken an extra step by editing the scene depicting Hannah’s suicide.
In a statement released on Monday (July 15) the streaming giant confirmed the first season has now been re-edited, so fans rewatching the show or watching it for the first time will see a different version of the controversial scene.
A statement said: “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.
“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.”
13 Reasons Why showrunner Brian Yorkey said in a statement: “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 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 decision has been welcomed by US organisations including the American Association of Suicidology, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the American School Counselor Association.
13 Reasons Why season 3 is currently in production at Netflix
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