Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” gained popularity almost instantly after being released on the streaming platform March 31. But as more and more people are watching the series, controversy has surfaced surrounding its sensitive subject matter.
“13 Reasons Why,” based on the best-selling book by Jay Asher, follows the story of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), who takes her own life after facing numerous traumatic experiences in high school. She records 13 tapes to give to the individuals she says played some sort of role in her decision, leaving her friend Clay (Dylan Minnette) to uncover the harsh reality behind her heartbreaking death.
Due to the fact that the show is being binge-watched by the youngest generations, many, including experts in the field of suicide and assault, are worried that the graphic content of Brian Yorkey’s series is simply too much.
Now, executive producer Selena Gomez is speaking out about her decision to join the project and put it out into the world. During an interview with E! News at a WE Day event Thursday, the 24-year-old said she’s “a little overwhelmed and very surprised” by the success of the show and stands behind its message to inform teens about the harsh realities of the world.
“I believed in the project for so long and I understood what the message was,” she said. “I just wanted it to come across in a way that kids would be frightened, but confused ― in a way that they would talk about it because it’s something that’s happening all the time. So, I’m overwhelmed that it’s doing as well as it’s doing.”
One of the show’s stars, Kate Walsh ― who plays Hannah’s mother ― recently spoke with HuffPost about the controversy, saying, “Parents and teachers and students [should] watch this and have conversations about sexual assault, about bullying, about LGBTQ issues, race issues, gender issues, suicide, depression and mental health, because largely in our country as we see now, it’s still in the shroud of shame or silence.”
There is already buzz that “13 Reasons Why” will receive a second season, despite being based on a single novel. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix is close to renewing the series, with sources saying that “a writers room for the sophomore run has been up and running for a few weeks.”
When asked about a Season 2, Gomez smirked and told E!, “Maybe?”
We’ll have to wait and see what happens next.
If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HELLO to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.