×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

’13 Reasons Why’ Producers on the Series’ ‘Eerie’ Similarities to Brett Kavanaugh Hearings

SPOILER ALERT: This post contains a spoiler for the end of “13 Reasons Why” Season 2. 

The team behind Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” can’t help but notice the “eerie” parallels there seem to be between its series and the recent Senate testimonies of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford.

Kristel Laiblin, an executive producer on the series, said Ford’s testimony that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school reminded her of “13 Reasons Why’s” Season 1 storyline in which Jessica Davis (Alisha Boe) was raped by classmate Bryce Walker, who is protected by his friend, and later, when he is arrested, receives only three months’ probation in Season 2.

“When Dr. Ford was explaining what happened to her in that room, six people that day said, ‘I kept thinking of that scene with Jessica on your show in Season 1,'” she said. “And me too — and that’s all I can picture when I see [Ford] and their teen pictures. All I can think of is, that hallway, that room, those people. And Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh, Christine Blasey Ford. And it was eerie.”

Joy Gorman Wettels, another executive producer, said the show plays out “how someone like Bryce Walker can remain protected for so long, and the complicity of everyone’s silence.” The one difference between fact and fiction, she said, was that “Bryce Walker isn’t getting into the Supreme Court” — and Kavanaugh might.

Variety caught up with several TV producers on Wednesday night in Los Angeles at the Norman Lear Sentinel Awards.

One Day at a Time’s” co-showrunner Gloria Calderon Kellett celebrated Ford’s bravery and urged others to believe survivors.

“She’s a true patriot in my mind, because she knew this was going to put her family at risk, that people are going to say terrible things about her, and she felt it was still her duty to come forward. That is bravery like I haven’t seen in a long time,” Kellett said. “That anybody would think that a woman would want to come forward and take a break from her life and talk about this is baffling to me because I know tons of women who will never say anything because you don’t want to. You want to move on with your life.”

Regardless of the outcome of the hearings, Kellett said the conversation around it “has been so toxic toward women” that it’s made her disappointed in the #MeToo movement and the idea that enough people — particularly men — have changed their mindsets toward sexual abuse.

“Why are some subsection of privileged white men afraid, and what can we do as a society to help them and to also live with that toxicity and try to manage it?” she said. “We need to look at how we’re raising young people and what we’re saying to them about consent and sexuality.”

With a tumultuous political landscape, Wettels said she’s recognized, more than ever, “13 Reasons Why’s” power to use its platform to step up and speak out.

“The day after Trump got elected, [creator] Brian Yorkey and I had dinner and he said, ‘I have to make a Season 2,'” she recalled. “I remember Brian feeling like kids need the show more than ever, because our kids can’t believe that a bully can be rewarded to this extent. … We have to remind them of our humanity.”

GLOW” was honored for its episode about Ruth Wilder’s (Alison Brie) abortion. Series co-executive producer Mark Burley ended his remarks by connecting the past to the present.

“Now it’s 30 years later, we’re seeing the ability to make that choice chipped away at, all over the country, and potentially after this week, we may be in danger of losing it nationally,” he said. “I’m going to leave you with one last question that we’ve already heard this week: can you think of any laws that give the government the power to make decisions about the male body?”

More Scene

  • Director Peter JacksonWarner Bros. Pictures THEY

    Peter Jackson Talks Transition From 'Hobbit' Movies to World War I Documentary

    Peter Jackson remains a bit astounded at his transition four years ago from the Shire of Middle Earth to the French battlefields of World War I. Jackson introduced his documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old” Friday night at the Linwood Dunn Theatre in Hollywood, four weeks after it aired on Armistice Day on the BBC. [...]

  • Hillary Clinton'Network' play opening night, New

    Hillary Clinton Attends Opening of Broadway's 'Network'

    A 1976 film might not be expected to translate seamlessly to Broadway in 2018, but for the cast and creative team behind “Network,” which premiered Thursday night with Hillary Clinton in the audience, the story still feels uncomfortably close to home. “It was a satire then, and now it’s documentary realism,” said Lee Hall, who [...]

  • Children's Defense Fund

    Angela Bassett, Conan O'Brien Honor Young Students at Children's Defense Fund Gala

    Awards season may be right around the corner, but on Thursday, Hollywood took a break from the glitz and glam to celebrate five high school students who have excelled academically despite facing extreme adversity both at home and in the classroom. The 29th annual Beat the Odds Awards ceremony at the Skirball Cultural Center featured [...]

  • Dolly Parton attends the world premiere

    Dolly Parton Hopes to Perform 'Dumplin'' Song at the Golden Globes

    It’s not easy to upstage Jennifer Aniston. But everyone at Thursday night’s premiere of her new Netflix flick, “Dumplin’,” seemed to be singing the praises of Dolly Parton, who earlier in the day received a Golden Globe nomination for “Girl in the Movies,” one of half a dozen new songs she wrote for the film. [...]

  • Lena WaitheVariety's Power of Women, Arrivals,

    Who Lena Waithe Thinks Should Replace Kevin Hart as Oscar Host

    Lena Waithe thinks Kevin Hart could have handled his Oscar debacle in a much better way. “I kind of wish that he would have taken a moment to let it be a teachable moment and to say, ‘Hey, what I said wasn’t right and I want to make that right,’ not just to keep the [...]

  • Christie Brinkley32nd Annual Footwear News Achievement

    Christie Brinkley at 64: 'Women My Age Cannot Allow the Numbers to Define Them'

    Christie Brinkley may be turning 65 next year, but don’t you dare try to tell her what she should — or shouldn’t — wear. “I think women my age cannot allow the numbers to define them. We need to constantly redefine the number,” Brinkley told Variety on Tuesday at the Footwear News Achievement Awards in New [...]

  • Gerard Butler, Haim Saban and Cheryl

    Why Haim and Cheryl Saban's $50 Million Donation to Academy Museum Almost Didn't Happen

    Haim and Cheryl Saban’s $50 million donation has landed them their name on the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures building on Miracle Mile in Los Angeles, but the billionaire philanthropists’ contribution to the project almost didn’t happen. During Tuesday’s unveiling of the restored exterior of the new Saban Building (formerly the historic May Company department [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content