The nearly three-minute-long scene has been edited following two years of controversy
More than two years after the first season of 13 Reasons Why concluded with a controversial suicide scene that lasted nearly three minutes, show creators have announced the scene will be edited. This news comes ahead of the drama’s return - expected to be released this year.
Brian Yorkey, Show Creator said in a statement:
“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.
“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.
“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.”
The original scene - which is no longer available on Netflix - caused controversy for the graphic depiction of suicide. The new scene now features Katherine Langford’s character, Hannah, looking at herself in the mirror before cutting to the next scene. Sources say Netflix will also monitor and issue the removal of any pirated clips that feature the original scene.
The news has received support from a number of organisations, including the American Association of Suicidology, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the American School Counselor Association, who made a joint statement backing the edit:
“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.”
Watchers of the show have taken to Twitter to voice their thoughts and while many are supportive of the edit, not everyone agrees.
“It’s disrespectful not to show the gruesomeness, sadness and pain of the suicide. It’s supposed to be upsetting and guttural, the show was incredible and devastating,” writes one user. “Editing the scene will make it easier to watch and not show the realism and suffering of an event like this.”
While another user responded with: “Experts disagree. Is disrespectful to keep a scene only there for shock value when it directly harms the people it claims to be helping. Showing graphic scenes of suicide leads to a raise in suicide.”
“Something that should have been done long ago. A terrible way of handling advice from a suicide prevention specialist caused the outrage and now they go back on the original decision & scene” writes Garret Corrado.
“Way late. Still, glad it’s gone. Never, ever should have existed, and this remains one of the most triggering shows ever created,” writes another user.
Season one also featured a 30-minute PSA - Beyond the Reasons - that streamed immediately after the finale and featured show producers, the cast, doctors and psychologists consulting on the series and informing viewers how to get help if they or someone they know is struggling.
Following the controversy of season one, Netflix introduced trigger warnings, including a warning card at the start of the show.
“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 conversations 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 13ReasonsWhy.info - a global resource centre that provides information about professional organisations that support help around the serious matters addressed in the show,” Netflix said in a statement in 2017.
With season three set to return in 2019, sources have said that the decision to edit the final scene in season one has “nothing to do with the content included in the upcoming third season.”
If you do experience distressing feelings and/or thoughts while watching or after watching 13 Reasons Why, talk to someone. For immediate support get in touch with the Samaritans, available 24/7 and free to call on 116 123; or email [email protected].
Read our previous coverage of 13 Reasons Why, including Who Is 13 Reasons Why For? and the Support Toolkit created for Parents and Teens Watching 13 Reasons Why Season 2.
For more information about mental health and the support available, visit Counselling Directory. You can also search for therapists in your area by entering your location in the box below.