Cutting Graphic Suicide Scene Is Not Enough—Netflix Must Remove Entire ‘13 Reasons Why’ Series, Says American Family Association
TUPELO, Miss.—Even after Netflix announced it has deleted a graphic suicide scene from the teen-targeted series “13 Reasons Why,” the American Family Association (AFA, www.afa.net) continues to warn parents and urge them to remain vigilant about their children’s TV viewing—especially binge-watching damaging programs like this one.
With a new school year just around the corner, and as fall schedules may allow for more unsupervised television time, AFA is again sharing the tragic story of 14-year-old Anna Bright, who committed suicide after binge-watching Season 1 of the program. A “13 Reasons Why” actor recently posted on social media that Season 3 of the teen-targeted series will premiere in October—even in the midst of the backlash the first two seasons of the series have received.
“Netflix has come under stronger scrutiny since a report in April showed suicides among U.S. kids aged 10 to 17 spiked to a 19-year high in the month following the release of 13 Reasons Why,’” said AFA President Tim Wildmon in an Action Alert to AFA’s more than 1 million friends and supporters. “During April 2017 alone, 190 U.S. tweens and teens took their own lives. The April 2017 suicide rate for this age group was .57 per 100,000 people, nearly 30 percent higher than in the preceding five years included in the study.”
An additional analysis, the Associated Press reported, found that the April 2017 rate was higher than in the previous 19 years, according to the study’s lead author, Dr. Jeff Bridge, a suicide researcher at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
“By pulling the graphic suicide scene,” Wildmon continued, “Netflix has finally acknowledged the harmful influence that ‘13 Reasons Why’ is capable of inflicting on teens. Along with AFA’s repeated warnings, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention joined the cause by advising Netflix to remove the scene. Finally, they may be listening to common sense. Netflix is clearly at a critical moment. It has the opportunity to distance its close association with teen suicide by completely removing the series altogether. We hope it will—before another child is lost.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, Netflix recently “reported its first decline in U.S. subscribers since its 2011 attempt to spin off separate streaming and DVD services. Almost 130,000 U.S. subscribers bailed in the second quarter (presumably after fee increases ranging from 12% to 18%), while international subscription rates increased by only 2.7 million—half of what Netflix had projected. Stock prices fell, one stockholder sued and media pundits came out of the woodwork to say, ‘We told you so.’”
The active AFA division One Million Moms (1MM, www.OneMillionMoms.com) also weighed in on the need to completely pull “13 Reasons Why.”
“One step at a time” said 1MM Director Monica Cole. “While there is still much to object to in this series, editing out the suicide scene is certainly better than nothing. 1MM is thankful to know that Netflix is finally beginning to listen. We can continue to pray that Reed Hastings’ heart will be softened, and that Netflix will continue to have listening ears. While we commend Netflix for making this responsible decision, 1MM urges Netflix to do more to protect children from harmful content. ‘13 Reasons Why’s’ graphic suicide isn’t the only damaging and inappropriate scene in the series. 1MM will keep the pressure on Netflix to cut the entire series by removing all seasons and cancel their plans to air Season 3 later this year.”
AFA and 1MM are urging parents and families to continue to take action regarding Netflix’s ongoing promotion of and commitment to “13 Reasons Why.”
- Sign the AFA petition to Netflix.
- Help warn as many parents as possible about ‘13 Reasons Why’ by copying and pasting the message below into an email and sending it to contact lists—especially those who have teenagers in their home.
I wanted to let you know about a petition that I signed to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. Through the American Family Association (AFA), I learned of a show called ‘13 Reasons Why’ that is airing on Netflix right now.
‘13 Reasons Why’ is extremely dangerous and has become a lightning rod for critics who say it glorifies suicide and may even make it an attractive option for teenagers who are enduring difficult times in their lives.
I’m warning my family and friends about ‘13 Reasons Why’ and am asking you to learn more at www.afa.net/netflix. I hope you will take time to read about 14-year-old Anna Bright, who is just one of many who committed suicide after binge-watching ‘13 Reasons Why.’
Then, join me in signing the petition to Netflix, urging them to pull ‘13 Reasons Why’ before another teen decides to end their life through suicide. Thank you for standing for righteousness and for fighting with us on this important issue.
Also read Wildmon’s letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings here and sign the petition to Netflix here. Visit an AFA Action Alert on “13 Reasons Why,” and read the article about Anna Bright’s family in AFA Journal.
To interview a representative from the American Family Association, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or ext. 102.