Since its premiere a month ago, 13 Reasons Why has quickly become as popular as it is divisive. The Selena Gomez-backed Netflix drama, based on the YA novel by Jay Asher, has attracted legions of ardent fans and just as many fierce critics, who call the TV-MA-rated show's graphic portrayal of suicide and rape triggering, and its poor messaging on mental health irresponsible. New Zealand's ratings board had to come up with a new classification for the show; Paris Jackson warned fans against watching it; and a Canadian school tried to ban students from talking about it. Meanwhile, the show's cast and writers have been defending it. Now, Netflix itself is responding to the controversy — specifically, the potentially triggering nature of the show.
"There has been a tremendous amount of discussion about our series 13 Reasons Why," Netflix said in a statement to BuzzFeed, explaining that they are ramping up the show's trigger warnings. "While many of our members find the show to be a valuable driver for starting important conversation with their families, we have also heard concern from those who feel the series should carry additional advisories." That includes an additional warning before the premiere and an update to the language in the existing warnings that appear before episode 9, which depicts rape, and episode 13, which shows rape and suicide in graphic detail. A spokesperson told BuzzFeed that these alterations will go into effect as soon as next week. Below is the statement in full:
"There has been a tremendous amount of discussion about our series 13 Reasons Why. While many of our members find the show to be a valuable driver for starting important conversation with their families, we have also heard concern from those who feel the series should carry additional advisories. Currently the episodes that carry graphic content are identified as such and the series overall carries a TV-MA rating. Moving forward, we will add an additional viewer warning card before the first episode as an extra precaution for those about to start the series and have also strengthened the messaging and resource language in the existing cards for episodes that contain graphic subject matter, including the URL 13ReasonsWhy.info — a global resource centre that provides information about professional organisations that support help around the serious matters addressed in the show."