Selena Gomez knows her series, 13 Reasons Why, is controversial, but the actress-singer says the tragic story of teen suicide is just a sign of the times. Gomez, an executive producer on the 13-episode series, talked about the dark Netflix drama in an interview on the Elvis Duran and the Morning Show, saying the series depicts real life themes that are happening to teens today.
“This is happening every day,” Selena said, according to Entertainment Weekly.
“Whether or not you wanted to see it, that’s what’s happening.”
13 Reasons Why tells the story of high school student Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), a distraught teen who leaves tapes which explain the reasons why she kills herself before she slashes her wrists in a bathtub. The series also features a violent sexual assault scene, bullying, body shaming, as well as teen drug and alcohol use.
The binge-worthy 13-episode hit, based on Jay Asher’s 2007 YA novel of the same name, has received backlash from some suicide prevention groups who feel it glamorizes teen suicide. Concerned parents have also slammed the series over its graphic content, which caused Netflix to ramp up the trigger warnings ahead of each episode.
Gomez admits that the content in 13 Reasons Why is “complicated.”
“All the questions that came up and all the talk about it was all valid and I understand it,” Selena said.
“It’s dark and it has moments that are honestly very hard to swallow, and I understood that we were doing something that is difficult. But these kids today are so exposed to things that I would never even comprehend when I was 8…they’re doing things and saying things that I couldn’t even fathom.”
Selena Gomez said she wanted to address real life issues “in a way that’s honest and real,” but she also admitted she understands the controversy surrounding 13 Reasons Why. Gomez told Duran she was “overwhelmed by the reaction” to the difficult series.
“That stuff is uncomfortable for people to talk about, but it is happening and hopefully, it opened the door for people to actually accept what’s happening and actually go and change it, talk about it,” Selena told the radio show.
Selena Gomez has been vocal about her own mental health struggles, which made her want to stay “true” to the struggles today’s teens face as well as Asher’s original novel. In an earlier interview with the Associated Press, Gomez admitted she expected some backlash over 13 Reasons Why.
“We wanted to do it justice and, yeah, [the backlash is] going to come no matter what,” Selena said.
“It’s not an easy subject to talk about, but I’m very fortunate with how it’s doing and I’m overwhelmed, very proud of it.”
What 13 reasons why has represented was an authentic story of what every kid deals with in every day life. The pressure, the unrealistic expectations of what they believe they should be. Whether you have read this book or not, it's a story of what every kid does and will continue to go through - unless we keep talking about it. People are hurting and deserve to be heard. Tired of others portraying a false idea of what every day life is. I hope @13reasonswhy can enlighten people to what words mean when you say them.
For the upcoming second season of 13 Reasons Why, Selena Gomez said viewers can expect to see a resolution for some of the characters.
“I think with season two we’re going to actually answer a lot of those questions and a lot of resolution with the characters are going to come,” Gomez teased to Duran. “I went to the writers’ room the other day and I felt like I was watching a movie because I was freaking out about where they were going because it was really encouraging and empowering. “We’re going to take a little inspiration from the first, and bring it into the second.”
According to Us Weekly, the second season of 13 Reasons Why will feature a bit of a format change. Hannah Baker’s suicide and its aftermath will still be part of the storyline, but there will be a small time jump and Langford won’t be narrating.
You can see Selena Gomez talking about 13 Reasons Why to Elvis Duran in the video below.
[Featured Image by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Netflix/AP Images]