Entertainment & Arts

13 Reasons Why: Netflix removes suicide scene from season one

Katherine Langford in 13 Reasons Why Image copyright Netflix
Image caption Katherine Langford plays Hannah Baker in the Netflix drama

A controversial scene in Netflix drama 13 Reasons Why in which a teenage girl kills herself has been removed, two years after it first appeared.

Netflix said the decision had been made "on the advice of medical experts".

The first series of the show featured a graphic depiction of Hannah (Katherine Langford) taking her own life.

The version now hosted on the streaming site omits this three-minute scene and goes directly to a later scene in which her body is discovered.

Samaritans said it "welcomed" Netflix's decision and that it had been working with the streaming service's UK team "to provide advice on the safe portrayal of suicide".

"While covering difficult topics in drama can help to increase understanding and encourage people to seek help, it's important this is done in a responsible way," said Lorna Fraser from the charity's media advisory service.

Image copyright Netflix
Image caption Dylan Minnette plays Clay Jensen, the show's lead character

Netflix said it had been "mindful about the ongoing debate around the show", the third season of which premieres later this year.

Dr Christine Moutier, chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, is cited as one of the experts consulted.

When 13 Reasons Why launched in 2017, it was praised by some for promoting awareness of such issues as rape, bullying and self-harm.

But concerns were also raised that it glamorised suicide and went into too much detail about how the Hannah character killed herself.

Writing on Twitter, producer Brian Yorkey said the show had originally portrayed the "ugly, painful reality of suicide in such graphic detail [to] make sure no one would ever wish to emulate it".

Yet he said concerns voiced by Dr Moutier and others had prompted a rethink.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Producer Brian Yorkey said the show wanted to "tell the truth" about suicide

"No one scene is more important than the life of the show, and its message that we must take better care of each other," he said.

"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."

Based on the 2007 novel by Jay Asher, 13 Reasons Why tells of a high school student who finds out why his friend killed herself through a box of cassette tapes she recorded before her death.

If you have been affected by issues raised in this article help and support is available via the BBC Action Line.

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