Netflix has deleted the controversial suicide scene from season one of 13 Reasons Why, two years after the show originally aired.
In a statement released by the streaming site yesterday, 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," they added.
After consulting with psychologists and doctors, Netflix made the important decision;
"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 scene instead now depicts actress Katherine Langford, who plays the show's protagonist Hannah, staring at her own reflection in the mirror before cutting to her parents' reaction in a later scene.
There is no longer any depiction of Hannah's suicide. The graphic and undeniably harrowing scene first aired during the season one finale, and showed Langford slicing her wrists with a razor blade before dying in a bathtub of blood.
The show faced immediate backlash regarding the depiction of suicide, with many activists and health professionals expressing concerns that the scene could contribute to copycat suicides among teenagers.
“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,” showrunner Brian Yorkey wrote in a statement.
He added; “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," Yorkey emphasised.
"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 number of suicide-related organisations and industry professionals have showed their support for Netflix' move, including; the American Association of Suicidology, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the American School Counselor Association, Stanford’s Dr. Helen Hsu, Mental Health America.
Cedars-Sinai’s Dr. Rebecca Hedrick and The Trevor Project have released a joint statement regarding the news;
“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."
They added; "But this positive change will ensure that the show continues to encourage open conversation about mental health and suicide prevention – while also mitigating the risk for the most vulnerable teenage viewers.”
The streaming service originally added a new advisory video in front of the second season episodes, with stars Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford, Justin Prentice and Alisha Boe explaining to viewers how they can get help if they are negatively affected by the show.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings later defended the show, saying, “It is controversial, but nobody has to watch it.”
The news of the show's choice to edit the suicide scene was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
Feature image: Instagram/@netflixuk