Netflix has removed the most controversial scene in 13 Reasons Why.
The streaming service announced that Season 1's graphic suicide scene, which previously featured the lead character Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) ending her life in her bathroom, has been altered: Now, after showing the character looking at herself in the mirror, the scene cuts directly to her parents' reaction to her death.
Netflix said of the decision, per Variety, "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 3 later this summer, we've been mindful about the ongoing debate around the show. 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 1."
The scene in question sparked backlash from viewers for its graphic nature, and some mental health organizations characterized the show's overall treatment of suicide as "risky." The character's death was not directly depicted in the book version of the story.
Yorkey 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 1 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 3, 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 new edit has also been praised in a joint statement from 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: "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."
When 13 Reasons Why debuted in 2017, show writer Nic Sheff argued in favor of the decision to show the graphic reality of Hannah's death. "It seemed to me the perfect opportunity to show what an actual suicide really looks like — to dispel the myth of the quiet drifting off, and to make viewers face the reality of what happens when you jump from a burning building into something much, much worse," Sheff wrote.
In Season 2, Netflix introduced a warning video before each episode, in which stars Langford, Dylan Minnette, Justin Prentice, and Alisha Boe tell audiences how they can get help if they are affected by the events in the series.
13 Reasons Why Seasons 1-2 are now streaming on Netflix. Season 3 is now expected to premiere this summer.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please reach out for help or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) anytime for a confidential conversation with a trained counselor.