The Parents Television Council asked this week for Netflix to pull the popular series 13 Reasons Why, now in its second season on the streaming platform. 13 Reasons Why is based on a book by Jay Asher that details the death by suicide of a fictional teen, Hannah Baker, and the impact it has on her high school classmates.
“Netflix has delivered a ticking time bomb to teens and children who watch 13 Reasons Why,’” said group president Tim Winter in a statement, calling the second season “even worse” than expected due to certain graphic elements. The PTC calls itself a “non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment.”
“We would have liked to have 13 reasons for hope and redemption following the graphic suicide of the lead character, but rather than providing a path forward, the season only provides cause for despondency,” Winter continued.
For the second season, which was released May 18, Netflix worked to preempt this kind of critique of the content of the show by providing a number of online resources for mental health, suicide, sexual assault and bullying, and by prefacing the episodes with PSAs warning about the graphic nature of the show and its triggering potential.
But the Parents Television Council has not been satisfied with these changes, stating that the show is by nature problematic because it is targeted to vulnerable teens. They are warning parents to be “alert and on guard” after teens watch the show.
In the past, the PTC has issued statements supporting YouTube’s release of extended parental controls, urging for limited advertising of gun violence on TV and, in 2004, memorably rallied against and ushered through complaints to the FCC about Justin Timberlake’s botched Super Bowl XXXVIII performance with Janet Jackson.