Netflix CEO Reed Hastings Doesn’t Seem to Care That ‘13 Reasons Why’ Has Torn Families Apart
TUPELO, Miss.—A recent headline in Variety is a telling commentary on the attitude of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings about the very real and valid concerns about the streaming service’s teen drama “13 Reasons Why.”
That sentiment seemingly sums up Hastings’ feelings about those deeply concerned about the series that, in its first season, focused on the graphic suicide of teenager Hannah Baker, who slits her wrists in a bathtub full of water. Her decision to end her life is explained through a collection of cassette tapes she leaves behind.
After season one, the American Family Association (AFA, www.afa.net) worked to tell the tragic story of Anna Bright, a 14-year-old girl who committed suicide in a similar fashion after binge-watching all 13 disturbing episodes of “13 Reasons Why.” View Anna’s story here.
Season two of the series was no better. Picking up months after Hannah’s suicide, and characters are seen dealing with the aftermath of her death. This time, the focus is sexual assault, and the filth and gratuitous content from season one is only exacerbated in season two, which also includes some of the most graphic, anti-social, drug-infused, sexually violent and nihilistic content ever produced for television. Additionally, the final episode of season two featured a violent bathroom sexual assault on a male student, and this severe bullying even leads to a planned school shooting that is thwarted at the last minute.
AFA, along with the Parents Television Council (PTC) and about 10 other pro-family groups, urged Netflix to stop airing season one and cancel plans for the second season of “13 Reasons Why.” But instead, Netflix responded by announcing season three ahead of its shareholders meeting earlier this month.
“It’s clear that Netflix and Reed Hastings do not care about the families that have been torn apart by this damaging series,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “Has he heard about Anna Brights’s story? Or the story of the Florida mother who says the show influenced her daughter to attempt suicide on Mother’s Day? Has he heard about the two California families who have blamed the show for the deaths of their daughters? Perhaps he has, but it must not be enough to pull the show because of the money it may be making or the attention it is garnering. But AFA and the other family organizations that are deeply concerned about this show will not stop spreading the word about its damaging effects.”
During the Netflix webcast shareholders meeting, an unidentified shareholder asked how Netflix weighed the decision to bring back a show that is “potentially controversial for a segment of its user base,” Variety reported.
“It is controversial,” Hastings acknowledged. “But nobody has to watch it. We’re an on-demand service, and we feel great about the possibility of season 3 and look forward to supporting the team’s work in that.” Hastings also called the content “engaging” and said the show has been “enormously popular and successful.” Season one may have been “enormously popular,” but the second season garnered a critics’ approval rating of just 27 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, according to Variety.
In its coverage, Variety also cited PTC’s statement about the “13 Reasons Why” renewal, which said that Netflix “potentially has the blood of children on their hands from keeping this series… on its platform for children to view.” In a piece for PTC, a child psychologist also wrote that “13 Reasons Why” is “suicide propaganda.” PTC also called Hastings’ response to the concerns about the show “callous.”
AFA is encouraging those concerned to use their voice to be part of the solution, rather than remain silent and ignore the problem.
- Sign the petition to Netflix demanding the streaming giant pull both seasons of “13 Reasons Why” and stop plans for season three; more than 75,000 have already done so.
- Learn more about the dangers of “13 Reasons Why” by reading the cautionary post on AFA’s blog site, The Stand.
- Share the “13 Reasons Why” Action Alert with family, friends and church members, especially those who have children at home.
American Family Association representatives are available to conduct immediate breaking news interviews via its LTN line at AFA studio headquarters. Contact Media@HamiltonStratetgies.com for more information or call 610.584.1096, ext. 102.
To interview a representative from the American Family Association or Parents Television Council, contact Deborah Hamilton, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, 610.584.1096, ext. 102, or Emily Brunner, ext. 100.