Netflix Pledges to Add More Trigger Warnings to ‘13 Reasons Why’

13 Reasons Why renewed season 2
Courtesy of Netflix

Netflix says it will add more trigger warnings to its show “13 Reasons Why,” which is targeted at teenagers, and includes graphic depictions of suicide and sexual violence.

The show has included several precautions since it was released on March 31 — it is rated TV-MA, includes a content warning before two of the episodes, and links to suicide-prevention resources in the documentary following the series. Now, the streaming service wrote in a statement, obtained by Variety, that it will include “an additional viewer warning card before the first episode” as well as strengthen “the messaging and resource language in the existing cards.”

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“13 Reasons Why” centers around a high school student (played by Katherine Langford) who commits suicide and leaves behind a box of cassette tapes that detail the set of circumstances that led her to end her own life. In April, Twitter reported that the show as the “most tweeted about” of 2017 so far.

The Netflix original’s depiction of sensitive issues has kicked up backlash — notably in some schools in Canada, which banned “discussion” of the show due to “disturbing subject matter.” Selena Gomez, who executive produced the show, commented in an interview with the AP that, due to the program’s sensitive material, backlash was “going to come no matter what.”

The changes will go into effect as soon as this week, according to Netflix. Read the full statement below:

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 center that provides information about professional organizations that support help around the serious matters addressed in the show.

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  1. Catherine Goshay says:

    I think the debate is great.

    The series is entertainment. But there is no question, teens see something in it that resonates. That could be the difficulty they have in relationships, the social media challenges, the disturbing end results of drinking and drug use like rape or accidents. Or maybe they are just hooked by the mystery built into the series.

    This is giving us an opportunity. We can connect with teens and reach them with helpful, life saving information if it resonates with them. Not Alone is a documentary conceived of by a teen who lost her best friend to suicide. She was frustrated with the videos and info out there targeted to teens to prevent suicide. It didn’t stick. Similar to “Just Say No” campaigns, teens tuned it out. So she wanted to create something teens would connect to.

    Not Alone enables teens to listen to teens who have experienced mental illness, self harm, thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts and getting help. This film does not have any ADULT faces or voices telling teens what to think. It allows the teens who have experienced it to educate and commiserate with teens who are also experiencing mental illness. The strength in this documentary is that every word of it comes from real teens. They encourage teens to get help. http://www.not-alone.live Go to this website, watch the trailer and see the film.

  2. See….MTV, this is how you reach out to teens with scripted programming having no limits. Not that silly AWKWARD. stuff you’ve been preaching.

    • Louis says:

      Perhaps it’s just smarter to HAVE limits on what’s produced for teens rather to try to justify how to prevent teen suicides from watching said show? Make sense? Even a little bit? If you are constantly putting out warnings to cover your ass then perhaps your show was a stupid-ass idea from the get-go.

  3. Rena Moretti says:

    Netflix = Desperate for PR.

    They are advertising “trigger warnings” in hopes of getting free publicity, just like they are advertising today y claiming one of the “hit shows” was “hacked” (what does that even mean?!!!!)

    Sadly the Hollywood press is always eager to help the hype and never asks the hard questions of Netflix.

  4. Unimportant Nobody says:

    The tighter they grasp the more teenagers will slip through their fingers.

    • Rena Moretti says:

      All Netflix is interested in is get “family values” people to make a stink so their show nobody cares about will become “forbidden” and thus “cool”.

      You have to admire the artistry of their PR even if the constant hot air coming from Netflix has become nauseating.

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