Netflix Deletes Controversial And Graphic Suicide Scene From First Season Of '13 Reasons Why'

Researchers found an increase in suicides among young people in the months after the show's 2017 debut, though they couldn't establish a direct link.

By Gina Tron

The first season of Netflix's "13 Reasons Why" was a hit show of 2017. But it was also controversial.

Based on a 2007 young adult novel of the same title by Jay Asher, the show detailed the events that lead up to the suicide of its main character, Hannah Baker. The graphic scene in the finale in which she took her own life was probably the most contentious and incited a backlash when it originally aired. 

Following the first season, a research team led by Dr. John Ayers of San Diego State University monitored discussions of suicide on the internet and found that suicide-related searches increased 19 percent during the 19 days after the show's debut. In light of his research, Ayers asked Netflix to consider pausing production on the second season but the streaming giant went ahead.

A subsequent study published earlier this year showed there were 195 more suicides among 10- to 17-year-olds in the nine months following "13 Reasons Why" than established trends would have predicted, though researchers were careful to say there was no way to link that alarming trend directly to the show.

Regardless, Netflix has apparently taken those concerns to heart and removed the controversial suicide scene from the show's first season. 

13 Reasons Why

"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,” Netflix said in a statement, according to CBS News. “So on the advice of medical experts ... we've decided with creator Brian Yorkey and the producers of '13 Reasons Why' to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from Season 1."

A spokesperson for Netflix told the Hollywood Reporter that they have been listening to debate around the show especially as they plan to launch season three later this summer.

The original cut of the scene in question featured the main character Hannah getting into a bathtub and then slitting her wrists. Those details are not included in the show anymore.

“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,” Yorkey said in a statement to THR.

He added, “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.”

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