July 16, 2019 11:36 am

Netflix removes graphic suicide scene from ’13 Reasons Why’ Season 1

WATCH: The series '13 Reasons Why' follows the story of high school student Hannah Baker and what led her to die by suicide.

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WARNING: This article contains explicit information related to suicide and mental health that may not be suitable for all audience members. Discretion is advised.

More than two years after 13 Reasons Why was first released, Netflix has removed a graphic suicide scene from the Season 1 finale ahead of the release of its third season.

“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,” Netflix said in a statement on Tuesday.

WATCH: ’13 Reasons Why’ Discussion Series: Spotting Signs of Depression


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The statement continued: “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.”

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Show creator Brian Yorkey said in a statement on Twitter that the intent in portraying the suicide in such graphic detail was to “make sure no one would ever wish to emulate it.”

“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,” Yorkey’s statement began.

“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,” he explained.

The statement continued: “But as we ready to launch Season 3, we have heard concerns about the scene from Dr. Christine Moutier at the American Foundation for 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,” Yorkey concluded.

READ MORE: Suicides spiked among children following ’13 Reasons Why,’ says study

The series drew praise and criticism when it debuted in 2017. The show included warnings about its graphic nature, and Netflix established a website of crisis helplines.

Netflix chairman and CEO Reed Hastings found himself defending the decision to renew the series for a third season in June 2018.

“It is controversial,” Hastings said during a Netflix shareholders meeting. “But nobody has to watch it.”

He said 13 Reasons Why is “engaging content” that “has been enormously popular and successful.”

13 Reasons Why drew criticism in its first season for its graphic depiction of a teenager’s suicide. The character, Hannah Baker, is still a prominent part of the show’s second season through flashbacks, which has also sparked criticism.

An American parental council called for the streaming service to cancel the popular teenage drama after a young man was shown being violently raped in a Season 2 episode.

READ MORE: Netflix CEO defends ’13 Reasons Why’ renewal after backlash

In the final episode of Season 2, character Tyler (Devin Druid) is raped by a school bully with a mop handle after being viciously beaten in the bathroom. It’s then implied that he contemplates a school shooting massacre as revenge.

Based on the events of that finale — in addition to other themes — the American censorship advocacy group Parents Television Council wanted the show removed from Netflix, saying it’s a real danger and presents morbid, dangerous ideas to teenagers.

In June 2018, the Parents Television Council released a statement about the 13 Reasons Why renewal, suggesting that Netflix “potentially has the blood of children on their hands from keeping this series… on its platform for children to view.”

READ MORE: ’13 Reasons Why’ renewed for Season 3

Netflix responded to concerns about the show’s themes by adding a new advisory video in front of the Season 2 episodes, telling viewers how to get help if they’re in crisis.

WATCH: ’13 Reasons Why,’ Season 2 — ‘Beyond the Reasons’ trailer

The streaming service also released a suite of all-new resources on 13ReasonsWhy.info, including a discussion guide, video message from the cast and more.

Netflix also has an after-show-style discussion special called Beyond the Reasons, which features the 13 Reasons Why cast, producers and mental health professionals discussing Season 2 scenes dealing with difficult issues, including intervention, bullying and sexual assault.

Season 3 of 13 Reasons Why does not have a premiere date as of yet.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.

The Canadian Association for Suicide PreventionDepression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868  all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.

—With files from the Associated Press and Chris Jancelewicz

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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