Urges Company to Redouble Efforts to Protect Children from Harmful Content
The Parents Television Council commended Netflix for its announcement that it will edit out the graphic suicide scene of its lead female teen character in 13 Reasons Why Season 1.
The PTC has repeatedly urged Netflix to reevaluate leaving 13 Reasons Why on its platform until the show could be proven not to be harmful to children. Ahead of Netflix’s most recent annual shareholders meeting, the PTC wrote to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and each member of the Netflix Board of Directors to request that the company pull 13 Reasons Whyfrom the platform in light of National Institutes for Health research that linked 13 Reasons Why to a 30% increase in suicides among children ages 10-17. The PTC asked Mr. Hastings to address concerns about 13 Reasons Why via a question at the company’s last two shareholders meetings.
“Netflix has finally acknowledged the harmful impact that explicit content, such as the graphic suicide scene in 13 Reasons Why, is capable of inflicting on children. This announcement, and last week’s announcement about removing smoking from its programming, are two big steps in the right direction for the benefit of children; but they must not be Netflix’s only steps. While we applaud Netflix for making this responsible decision, we call on the company to redouble its efforts to protect children from harmful content,” said PTC President Tim Winter.
“13 Reasons Why’s graphic suicide isn’t the only problematic scene in the series; it has also depicted a boy being sodomized with a broken mop handle, glamorized underage drinking and drug use, and grotesquely sexualized children. 13 Reasons Why also isn’t the only Netflix program that targets children with decidedly adult, explicit content. Other problematic shows include the cartoon Big Mouth, which grotesquely sexualizes children, Desire, a film that borders on child pornography, and Sex Education, which features high school aged characters engaged in explicit depictions of sex and nudity.
“Netflix is clearly at a pivotal moment. It is taking measures to address concerns that we have publicly asked the company to change in order to protect children. It is leading the way forward towards greater corporate responsibility compared to other digital media companies. But this way forward has to continue despite challenging financial considerations or future competition.”