Did Netflix Just Trivialize Suicide? Streaming Giant Shades Hulu With Epic ’13 Reasons Why’ Line

The battle is on for the best streaming service. Netflix just burned its competitor Hulu with a witty one-liner from its latest hit original series, 13 Reasons Why.

The background: Hulu posted a video ad on Twitter last Saturday, April 15 that was no doubt a direct target against Netflix.

“Streaming only on Hulu. Not on Netflix. Try your free trial today!” the tweet’s caption reads.


Last Tuesday, Netflix finally responded to Hulu’s shade, conveniently using a line from 13 Reasons Why.

“Welcome to your tape,” the streaming giant tweeted, linking to Hulu’s previous tweet.


The cryptic line is famously used in the teen drama by the show’s protagonist, Hannah Baker. In the story, Hannah decides to commit suicide but not until after leaving audio tapes for the 13 people who have played a role in her ultimate decision.

Netflix’s reference to this line drew mixed reactions from netizens. While some found the allusion funny and witty, there were others who took it seriously and questioned Netflix’s poor taste in humor.

Since its release, 13 Reasons Why has drawn several debates regarding its dark underlying theme and whether it helps teenagers deal with issues such as bullying, peer pressure, and self-esteem. Concerned netizens commented that by using the line as a sarcastic albeit funny remark, Netflix may have trivialized the issue of suicide among adolescents.

“This isn’t funny,” one fan wrote in reply to Netflix’s tweet.

Even actress Ellen Pompeo jumped in on the issue, calling Netflix’s move as “gross and shameful.”


Meanwhile, the competition between subscription-based streaming services is indeed getting tougher. Hulu and Amazon Prime are two of Netflix’s toughest rivals in the market. However, Netflix insists on having the lead. CEO Reed Hastings recently stated that sleep — not Hulu and Amazon — is its biggest competitor, the Guardian reported.

“You know, think about it, when you watch a show from Netflix and you get addicted to it, you stay up late at night. We’re competing with sleep, on the margin. And so, it’s a very large pool of time.”

Hastings added that the home entertainment market is “just so vast,” and Amazon or Hulu may also do well in the market but they won’t make a dip on Netflix’s performance.

According to Forbes, Netflix is, in fact, number one in its category in the U.S., with an estimated 128 million subscribers this year. In comparison, Amazon Prime only has 85.3 million expected viewers, while Hulu has 32 million.

13 Reasons Why promotional poster.
[Image by Netflix]

Netflix’s secret to success may lie on investing in big-budget original productions such as House of Cards to maintain viewer interest and ensure high-quality content. Its newer original series, such as Stranger Things,The Crown, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, have also proven to be huge hits among subscribers.

Reportedly, Netflix is looking to improving mobile viewing experience by coming up with new technologies. It also plans to introduce interactive series in the near future, which will give the viewers the power to control a show’s plot and characters.


For now, Netflix is targeting a younger audience with its recent release of high-school dramas Riverdale and 13 Reasons Why. Aside from series, Netflix also continues to roll out original movies. Comedian Adam Sandler has recently signed a deal to make four original Netflix movies.

This May, Netflix has lined up a suspense documentary entitled The Keeper. This comes after the success of its previous true crime docuseries Making a Murderer. Netflix is also doing an animated reboot of the popular 1980s computer game Where is Carmen Sandiego? It will feature Jane the Virgin actress Gina Lopez and Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard.

[Featured Image by Eric Charbonneau/Invision/AP Images]