A controversial and graphic suicide scene in “13 Reasons Why” has been edited by Netflix more than two years after it first began streaming.
The original scene, which takes place in the Season 1 finale, was nearly three minutes long. Hannah (Katherine Langford) sits in a bathtub and uses a razor blade to cut her wrist. Blood gushes from the wound and Hannah screams in pain, before eventually dying. Her mother (Kate Walsh) later finds Hannah’s lifeless body.
The newly edited scene shows the despondent Hannah looking at herself in the mirror and then immediately moves to her parents’ reaction. No longer does it depict the teen using the razor blade or the final painful moments of her life.
In a statement, Netflix 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.”
“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, who also serves as showrunner, said in a statement Tuesday.
“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.”
A few months ago, a study showed teen suicides spiked because of “13 Reasons Why.”
Netflix has consistently worked to provide resources for teens and their families around the topic of suicide. Season 1 featured a 30-minute PSA — “Beyond the Reasons” — that streamed after the finale and featured executive producer Selena Gomez, cast members, and psychologists who consulted on the series informing viewers how to get help if they or someone they know is struggling with suicidal thoughts.
For Season 2, Netflix partnered with Northwestern University’s Center on Media and Human Development on a global research study to determine “whether and how the series opened dialogue between teens and parents.”
Some key findings: 71 percent of teens and young adults found the show relatable, and nearly three-quarters of teen and young adult viewers said the show made them feel more comfortable processing tough topics. More than half of teens reached out to someone to apologize for how they had treated them, and nearly three-quarters of teens said that they tried to be more considerate about how they treated others after watching the show.
It led Netflix to create more resources, including a new after-show featuring the actors, experts, and educators as well as the the site 13ReasonsWhy.Info, which provided guidance from mental health experts as well as a viewing guide.
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