Selena Gomez Defends 13 Reasons Why Following Backlash

Posted 2017/05/01 2982 0

Selena Gomez has defended 13 Reasons Why following a slew of criticisms levelled against the Netflix series, saying how the backlash was expected.


13 Reasons Why is being lauded for its honest and realistic depiction of depression and teen suicide, but there has also been a lot of controversy surrounding a scene in which the show's main character, Hannah Baker, takes her own life. Many critics have accused the scene of being too graphic or glamorizing suicide and feel that it's not doing enough to point viewers in the direction of preventative help. Aside from sparking conversation, some Canadian schools have gone so far as to warn parents on the show's plot and possible suicide trigger warnings.

Gomez, however, is standing by the show she executive produced. “We stayed very true to the book and that’s initially what Jay Asher created, was a beautifully tragic, complicated yet suspenseful story, and I think that’s what we wanted to do," she explained. "We wanted to do it justice and, yeah, that’s going to come no matter what. It’s not an easy subject to talk about, but I’m very fortunate with how it’s doing. I’m overwhelmed. I’m very proud of it.”

Selena's sentiments echo those of executive producer Brian Yorkey, who said, "We worked very hard not to be gratuitous. But we did want it to be painful to watch because we wanted to be very clear that there is nothing, in any way, worthwhile about suicide." Writer Nic Sheff opened up about their choice while touching on his own suicide attempt: "It seemed to me the perfect opportunity to show what an actual suicide really looks like — to dispel the myth of the quiet drifting off, and to make viewers face the reality of what happens when you jump from a burning building into something much, much worse."

13 Reasons Why is based on Asher's book of the same name (Th1rteen R3asons Why) and was adapted for television by Brian Yorkey. Penned as "a mystery", it pieces together the alleged causes of high school student Hannah Baker's suicide, pegging responsibility on a number of individuals in her life, which some have criticised as a reductive approach to a complex issue.

The Christian Post reported last week that the Netflix series, based off the young adult novel of the same name, has been raising concerns among parents and educators about whether or not it could influence troubled teens to attempt suicide themselves.

"What concerns me about the show is that the central conceit of the series feeds one of the drivers of teenage suicide, and that is the sense of suicide as storyline," said Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

"Many depressed teenagers that I've talked to over the years, and others with suicidal tendencies, don't actually want to be dead as much as they want to end one story and start another. In many cases, the suicide becomes, in the imagination, the way to resolve storylines that one sees no other way to resolve," he added.