The 13 Reasons Why Season 2 release date should be moved back at least until the scientific community has had time to do more research into any links between the show and teen suicide, according to a conservative TV watchdog group.
As Newsweek reports, the Parents Television Council, which the magazine describes as a “conservative censorship advocacy group,” is urging Netflix to hold off on releasing the second season of the hugely-popular show until more research is done. The group is concerned about any possible links between the show’s graphic portrayal of teen suicide — which some claim glamorizes it — and a possible increase in suicidal thoughts or behavior in teenagers who watch it.
“We call on Netflix to refrain from releasing season two of ’13 Reasons Why’ until experts in the scientific community have determined it to be safe for consumption by an audience that is comprised heavily of minor children.”
As the Hollywood Reporter notes, the first season of the show depicts the graphic suicide of character Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford). Though initially viewed as unexpected, Hannah releases 13 audio tapes explaining her reasons for taking her own life.
Reaction to the show was swift and harsh. In a USA Today op-ed piece, Harold S. Koplewicz called on Netflix to take the show off the air.
“’13 Reasons Why’ is exceptionally dangerous to the teenage population — the exact audience the program targets — because it capitalizes on [things teenagers go through] without any effort to educate viewers or mitigate the risk of suicide contagion.”
A year ago today, @13ReasonsWhy premiered. Endlessly proud of this project and all of the amazing people involved ❤️ Can’t wait to share season 2 with u. #13ReasonsWhy #oneyearlater | @netflix pic.twitter.com/bVfNFvJLKU
— Kate Walsh (@katewalsh) March 31, 2018
Teenage fans of the show, however, praised the show for its real, and unflinching, look at the realities that teens face.
Though not repeating Koplewicz’s call for Netflix to completely pull the show — at least, not yet — the Parents Television Council does want some measures in place to protect kids from the show. For one thing, they want Netflix to delay the release of the second season until more research has been done. For another, they want the streaming service to offer subscription plans that allow viewers to opt out of “explicit content” and makes the show completely unavailable. Finally, they want Netflix executives to participate in a conference that discusses their programming’s effect on families.
Outside of the United States, schools and even governments have taken an even more aggressive approach to “13 Reasons Why.” In Canada, for example, at least one school has banned teachers and children from even talking about the show on school grounds, according to Variety. And in New Zealand, the government banned children under 18 from watching the show without an adult, according to the Guardian.
Meanwhile, the 13 Reasons Why Season 2 release date remains uncertain, as Netflix has kept that information under wraps. Ross Butler, who plays Zach Dempsey on the series, told fans on Sunday that it will return “soon.”