“13 reasons why” begins with another disclaimer cautioning a few viewers not to watch the show
When Netflix’s suicide drama 13 Reasons Why first debuted last year, it was embroiled in a controversy over a graphic scene depicting a student taking her own life. The scene drew backlash from mental-health groups, schools, parents, and even entire countries, who criticized it, and the show as a whole, for glamorizing teen suicide. In response, Netflix reedited the first season to include a disclaimer before its pilot and trigger warnings before its two most graphic episodes. (A half-hour special on mental health was available after the finale before the backlash occurred.)
For season two, which premieres Friday, 13 Reasons Why has gone a step further in alerting viewers of its sensitive material: In a cold open before its first episode begins, a 50-second PSA runs featuring many of the main castmembers reading off a strong disclaimer. At one point, some potential viewers at risk of being triggered by the show’s content are advised not to watch it at all. This is the new disclaimer in full:
13 Reasons Why is a fictional series that tackles tough, real-world issues, taking a look at sexual assault, substance abuse, suicide, and more. By shedding a light on these difficult topics, we hope our show can helps viewers start a conversation. But if you are struggling with these issues yourself, this series may not be right for you or you may want to watch it with a trusted adult. And if you ever feel you need someone to talk with, reach out to a parent, a friend, a school counselor, or an adult you trust, call a local helpline, or go to 13ReasonsWhy.info. Because the minute you start talking about it, it gets easier.
Each episode now also ends with a message read by a different actor, directing viewers to the same website mentioned in the initial disclaimer for more crisis resources. Additionally, new episodes that depict sexual violence, drug abuse, guns, and other graphic material are given strong disclaimers prior to playing. There will also be a new after-show featuring conversations with actors, experts, and educators who “informed [the show’s] approach” to its sensitive topics. Doubling down on those precautions, season two also does not feature any further depictions of suicide or flashbacks to Hannah Baker’s in the first season. Creator Brian Yorkey recently told The Hollywood Reporter that omitting that particular graphic storytelling was a “creative decision” in response to the backlash.