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Netflix Pledges to Add More Trigger Warnings to ‘13 Reasons Why’

Variety logo Variety 5/1/2017 Seth Kelley
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Netflix says it will add more trigger warnings to its show “13 Reasons Why,” which is targeted at teenagers, and includes graphic depictions of suicide and sexual violence.

The show has included several precautions since it was released on March 31 — it is rated TV-MA, includes a content warning before two of the episodes, and links to suicide-prevention resources in the documentary following the series. Now, the streaming service wrote in a statement, obtained by Variety, that it will include “an additional viewer warning card before the first episode” as well as strengthen “the messaging and resource language in the existing cards.”

“13 Reasons Why” centers around a high school student (played by Katherine Langford) who commits suicide and leaves behind a box of cassette tapes that detail the set of circumstances that led her to end her own life. In April, Twitter reported that the show as the “most tweeted about” of 2017 so far.

The Netflix original’s depiction of sensitive issues has kicked up backlash — notably in some schools in Canada, which banned “discussion” of the show due to “disturbing subject matter.” Selena Gomez, who executive produced the show, commented in an interview with the AP that, due to the program’s sensitive material, backlash was “going to come no matter what.”

The changes will go into effect as soon as this week, according to Netflix. Read the full statement below:

There has been a tremendous amount of discussion about our series 13 Reasons Why. While many of our members find the show to be a valuable driver for starting important conversation with their families, we have also heard concern from those who feel the series should carry additional advisories. Currently the episodes that carry graphic content are identified as such and the series overall carries a TV-MA rating. Moving forward, we will add an additional viewer warning card before the first episode as an extra precaution for those about to start the series and have also strengthened the messaging and resource language in the existing cards for episodes that contain graphic subject matter, including the URL 13ReasonsWhy.info — a global resource center that provides information about professional organizations that support help around the serious matters addressed in the show.

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