The show Thirteen Reasons Why raises some interesting issues regarding ethical responsibility of content producers and networks that broadcast content that may have “deleterious effects” on their viewers. This also raises interesting questions about the value and power of art.
A new study reveals that internet searches for suicide skyrocketed in the wake of the show’s release.
The question is whether this particular study, or any of the allegations that the show directly led to copycat suicides and suicide attempts, will be enough of an impetus for the show’s producers to respond. The study’s authors suggest that editing out the scene of Hannah Baker’s suicide from the show and adding information about suicide hotlines to episodes could immediately minimize some of 13 Reasons Why’s “deleterious effects.” Netflix’s response to the study, though, indicated no such moves would be forthcoming. “We always believed this show would increase discussion around this tough subject matter,” the company said in a statement. “This is an interesting quasi-experimental study that confirms this. We are looking forward to more research and taking everything we learn to heart as we prepare for Season 2.” Netflix declined interview requests from The Atlantic regarding the show.