Warning: Spoiler Alert
Netflix has become a platform for some of the best original series and documentaries but one of their hit shows has proved so controversial pressure groups are calling for its cancellation.
13 Reasons Why is at the centre of this controversy after viewers were subjected to a graphic male rape scene in the final episode of the latest series.
According to Vulture, US pressure group Parents Television Council (PTC) are now calling on Netflix to pull the show from their services due its ‘harmful content’.
13 Reasons Why, which premiered its second season last Friday, is based on the 2007 best-selling novel by Jay Asher. Netflix’s adaptation follows the story of Clay (Dylan Minnette) who comes across 13 tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, a classmate and his secret crush, who took her own life.
The show tackles a lot of tough themes such as suicide, mental health and bullying. It has been both praised and vilified for tackling these issues in a high school setting, using young actors to address the problems which regular high school students endure, usually in silence.
However, in the eyes of the PTC season two took things too far after one of the characters, Tyler, is subjected to a sexual assault by school bully Monty. The ordeal leaves Tyler distraught and crying in the toilets, an experience which convinces him to plan a school shooting as revenge.
The PTC wants Netflix to pull the show off of their streaming services ‘because of its potential to harm teens and children’, which they find ‘potentially harmful content’, The Sun reports.
In a statement Tim Winter, PTC’s president, said:
The content and thematic elements of the second season are even worse than we expected.
We would have liked to have 13 reasons for hope and redemption following the graphic suicide of the lead female teen character, but rather than providing a path forward, the season only provides cause for despondency.
The show’s creator Brian Yorkey, responded in an statement to Vulture, saying:
We fully understand that that means some of the scenes in the show will be difficult to watch.
I think Netflix has helped provide viewers with lots of resources for understanding that this may not be the show for everybody, and also resources for people who do watch it and are troubled and need help.
But the fact is that, as intense as that scene is, and as strong as the reactions to it may be, it doesn’t even come close to the pain experienced by the people who actually go through these things.
Entertainment Tonight reports 13 Reasons Why’s executive producer Mandy Teefey defended the show, saying:
I wouldn’t tell anybody how to parent their own child. That’s up to them. I feel that we gave it as a platform and a tool to be [able for parents and kids to have a] dialogue. The fact that we’re talking about it and that it was so talked about, that was our goal.
I would just suggest that they Google the news. There’s nothing that anybody ever has put or had the desire in our group to make anything gratuitous or shock value.
It’s shocking, it’s horrific, but it’s happening. There’s videos that people post and that’s online forever. It’s [in] the culture, so just look it up and educate yourself that you need look out for this.
One of the actors on the show, Justin Prentice, who plays Bryce, had a more diplomatic outlook on the cries to pull the show off of Netflix.
I see where they are coming from, but at the same time, one of the jobs of our show is to reflect reality. This stuff is already going on in these high schools. These kids are already experiencing it in their day-to-day lives.
Having a show where we address these issues — even if you don’t necessarily agree with the way that we address them — the fact that we are addressing them and having these conversations, it bridges the gap if parents wanted to watch it with their children.
UNILAD recently spoke to Sam Thompson, a male rape victim, who was attacked in a hotel room in Manchester city centre.
Sam spoke about how he felt during the ordeal:
While it was going on I tried to block out that it was happening. I just laid there and flopped.
Essentially that it one of the responses that your body can have, you can either fight or flop. I flopped. It is a natural reaction.
I remember bits and bobs. The next morning was like when you wake up from a dream and you can remember certain details but not the whole picture. That is how I felt.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 (12-2:30 and 7-9:30). They also offer a victim support line on 0808 168 9111.
Male Survivors Partnership is available to support adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. You can contact the organisation on its website or on its helpline – 0808 800 5005.