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Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” sparks more controversy with second season

Photo Courtesy of Netflix

Photo Courtesy of Netflix

Gabriel Rubio,
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In the month and a half since its release, the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” has generated a surge of controversy over its not-so-subtle subject matter: teen rape, suicide, and bullying.

The story focuses on the suicidal death of high school student Hannah Baker, who leaves behind 13 cassette tapes that explain her decision to take her life and to name the people she blames for her suicide. Classmate and friend Clay Jensen, after hearing the tapes, spends the majority of the series seeking retribution by exposing the truth about what lead to Hannah’s suicide.

The Netflix series first premiered March 31, and was mentioned in more than three million tweets within the first week of its release, classifying it as the most talked about Netflix original series on Twitter, according to Fizziology, a research firm that analyzes social media data. The series is an adaptation of Jay Asher’s 2007 novel “Thirteen Reasons Why” and incorporates graphic scenes of rape, aggressive bullying, and a suicide.

Earlier this month, executive producer Selena Gomez announced on Instagram on May 7 that there will be a second season with the words, “The story isn’t over.” Her teaser generated 8 million views and approximately 250,000 comments, according to Instagram.

Although the fictional acts of rape and bullying are just a television performance, and can potentially educate viewers, critics have said that the physical and mental abuse depicted will inspire future acts of sexual violence, suicidal thoughts in teens, and is “triggering.” Just like Hannah, 17 percent of American women are victim of sexual assault at some point in their lives, numerous rape victims have suicidal thoughts, and many die by suicide, according to suicide.org. Schools and Netflix are taking precautionary measures by warnings viewers of sensitive subject matter in written statements.

School officials nationwide have become proactive since the release of “13 Reasons Why.” In New York, City Department of Education officials encouraged principals to forward a letter that notify parents about the Netflix show and requests parents to assure their children that if they have questions relating to the subject matter, there are professionals and parents available to help, according to the New York Post. Netflix acknowledged concerns by adding statements at the beginning of episodes to warn about sensitive content and advise viewer discretion. “There has been a tremendous amount of discussion about our series ‘13 Reasons Why,’ Netflix said in a statement May 1. “While many of our members find the show to be a valuable driver for starting

Netflix acknowledged concerns by adding statements at the beginning of episodes to warn about sensitive content and advise viewer discretion.

“There has been a tremendous amount of discussion about our series ‘13 Reasons Why,’ Netflix said in a statement May 1. “While many of our members find the show to be a valuable driver for starting important conversations with their families, we have also heard concern from those who feel the series should carry additional advisories.”

Although the premiere date for Season 2 has yet to be announced, the second installment will show how the 13 people from the original tapes come to terms with Hannah’s suicide, according to producer Brian Yorkey, who told Entertainment Weekly that although the series has been controversial, sensitive subject matter should be enforced in visual media to open the conversation on teen suicide, bullying, and rape.

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California State University East Bay
Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” sparks more controversy with second season