The families of two teens who died by suicide after watching the controversial show, 13 Reasons Why, want Netflix to cancel Season 2 of the series.
John Herndon, father of Bella Herndon, 15, one of two California teens who took her own life after watching 13 Reasons Why told In Touch magazine, the “destructive” show was responsible for his daughter’s death on April 18.
Herndon and his wife, Donna, discovered Bella, in her bedroom closet after she had hanged herself. She died at the hospital 10 days later, never regaining consciousness.
Herndon said his daughter had binge-watched the series about 16-year-old Hannah Baker who leaves her friends 13 cassette tapes explaining why she killed herself. The show is executive produced by Selena Gomez and is shot mostly in the Bay Area.
Another teen, 15-year-old Priscilla Chiu hanged herself on April 22. Relatives have said they believe the show was a trigger for her suicide.
After first airing the show in March, Netflix added a content warning in May in response to criticism from parents and mental health advocacy groups. Production on Season 2 began earlier this month.
Herndon said his phone calls have been ignored by Netflix. Herndon and Priscilla Chiu’s uncle, Peter Chiu, spoke out to Bay Area television station KTVU for the first time earlier this week about their concerns.
“I feel it is dangerous for that small percentage of young adults who the show could become a trigger for them. And I feel as if the show gives only one alternative,” said Peter Chiu.
In response to KTVU’s story, Netflix issued a statement saying, “We have heard from many viewers that 13 Reasons Why has opened up a dialogue among parents, teens, schools and mental health advocates around the difficult topics depicted in the show. We took extra precautions to alert viewers to the nature of the content and created a global website to help people find local mental health resources.”
But that isn’t enough for Herndon.
“I think Bella would [still be alive if she hadn’t watched this show]. It’s chilling to me that Selena Gomez, who worked with Disney making movies that families watched, steered her fan base to this,” he said to In Touch, adding, “Someone has to stand up and say, ‘This is wrong.’”