By Matt Philbin
Editor’s note. The story below appeared at Newsbusters. So why is the show so controversial?
“In ‘13 Reasons Why,’ high school student Hannah Baker kills herself and leaves behind cassette tapes describing the events that led to her death, which is shown in graphic detail in the series finale,” Reuters Health reporter Lisa Rapaport wrote last year. “After its debut, many mental health experts raised concerns that watching the series could trigger copycat suicides, particularly among certain vulnerable teens who might already be struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts.”
Rapaport added ominously, “Google search volumes for queries about suicide were 19 percent higher than expected in the 19 days following the show’s release, reflecting 900,000 to 1.5 million more searches than there otherwise would have been.”
Netflix just announced the third season of the teen suicide drama 13 Reasons Why with a teaser released today on its social media accounts. This, despite pressure from healthcare professionals and organizations including The Parents Television Council (PTC) and the American Family Association (AFA) about the harm the show is doing to teens. As stated in a recent NewsBusters post, they urged Netflix to pull the show. Netflix refuses to listen despite the evidence of harm.
The announcement came just ahead of the company’s shareholder meeting, where PTC planned to address 13 Reasons.
PTC issued the following statement:
We condemn Netflix for renewing its teen-targeted suicide drama ’13 Reasons Why.’ The company already potentially has the blood of children on their hands from keeping this series – with its graphic suicide scene, its sodomization of a teen boy and a potential school shooting, among other adult content – on its platform for children to view. The PTC will be participating in the shareholder meeting today and asking Netflix how it justifies keeping this program on the air.
It’s difficult to imagine any justification for continuing to air a show that inspired a dramatic increase in people Googling “how to commit suicide.”