Selena Gomez’s passion project, 13 Reasons Why, has been an enormous hit amongst teenagers and adults alike who have praised the show for its hard-hitting realness. However, the show has recently been bashed for glamorizing suicide and accusing it of portraying the act as a “revenge fantasy” to “get back at your bullies.” The show has also been slammed for not truly representing the finality of suicide and making it seem like you can return to see all of the ways people who hurt you are paying for it.
A Texas counselor, ironically in Selena Gomez’s home state, took to a media outlet to say she didn’t recommend the show to parents or teens.
“We don’t want to glamorize it. Once it ends it ends there are no tapes or flashbacks that we get to keep watching, they don’t get to see the finality and the grief that goes along with the ending,” she said.
And it seems many are in agreement, so much so that a petition on Change.org has been started to ask Selena Gomez to remove her pet project because they feel it doesn’t handle the issues responsibly enough. So far, the petition has gained almost 1,000 digital signatures.
The creator of the petition, Alexandra Contrades-Lacy, says the show was a trigger for her and that it is irresponsible for Netflix to distribute the series.
She went on to further explain her reasoning.
“The most disturbing part of this series was the graphic content. There were warnings at the beginning of the episode, and the viewers know the series description. Though, I cannot fathom any reason why a TV show would need to air two different teenagers getting raped and a girl slitting her wrists. Just like for me, seeing this may be a trigger to any other person who is having the same feelings. Would Netflix take responsibility for someone killing themselves unlike what the school does in the show? Instead of making a quick buck off someone else’s illness, help should be sent out to those in need.
“The creator of the show herself said ‘I wanted it to feel like anyone can see themselves in this’ -Selena Gomez to MTV. That is the problem; the series ends with a girl who commits suicide; does that mean Gomez expects everyone to do the same?
“If the show cannot be taken down, then I ask Gomez and the cast to go out of their way to educate themselves on mental illness. I would also like them to go into the community and help those suffering, maybe even work a suicide hotline. I am sick and tired of mental illness being put on display yet; no change is happening.
“I find it appalling that mental illness is being sold back to teenagers as shows and movies because they can find it ‘relatable.’ Everyone involved in the making of the book and series needs to realize the implications it has on their audience. We as a whole need to take action to help people understand suicide is never an option. We are loosing more and more people to suicide every day, and something needs to change.”
The show has been both widely praised and criticized for its graphic content, with some stating that it depicts reality with an unflinching eye. However, others say it is too much for a television show.
Kate Walsh, who plays Hannah Baker’s mother in Selena Gomez’s 13 Reasons Why, defended the series from critics.
“I think that anything that’s at all kept secret is inextricably intertwined with shame and secrecy, (and) should be outed. I can’t speak for Brian [Yorkey, the creator], but I know that it was important for us to be as honest as we could.
“Part of the problem is not talking about it and not seeing it, and not seeing what really happens, and that it’s this mysterious kind of thing that’s never spoken about or never seen. And we just shove it under the rug, and nobody talks about it, and we just hope that it doesn’t happen to them or their children or friends or family.”
[Featured Image by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Netflix/AP Images]