Two years after the series’ first season debut, Netflix has removed the controversial, graphic scene. The scene depicts Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford)’s death by suicide. The edited, altered scene shows Hannah looking in a mirror and subsequently cuts to her parents’ reaction to her death, as opposed to explicitly depicting what happens. Sources told The Hollywood Reporter, who first reported this story, that Netflix will issue takedowns for any pirated clips of the original scene that are on the internet.
“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,” the streaming giant said in a statement Monday.
The scene received heavy controversy upon the series’ debut, and a 2017 study showed that the series may have contributed to an uptick in suicide-related searches online. Netflix addressed the controversy the following year ahead of its season 2 debut, releasing a video, building a website of resources and adding warning cards and crisis hotline information. They also commissioned another study which said that “a range of 63 percent to 74 percent felt that the intensity of the show was appropriate, and 63 percent to 79 percent felt that the graphic nature of Hannah’s death was necessary to show how painful suicide is.”
“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. 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[es] 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,” said creator and showrunner Brian Yorkey.
A joint statement from multiple groups including the American Association of Suicidology, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the American School Counselor Association says, “We support the decision to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from 13 Reasons Why. There has been much debate about the series in the medical community. But this positive change will ensure that 13 Reasons Why continues to encourage open conversation about mental health and suicide prevention — while also mitigating the risk for the most vulnerable teenage viewers.”
Season 3 of 13 Reasons Why is currently in development. Alisha Boe, Dylan Minnette, Steven Silver, Derek Luke and others also star.
If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately. If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255) If you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.