• PTC to Netflix CEO: Pull the Plug on 13 Reasons Why

    by  • August 14, 2019 • Other, Sexualization, Streaming, Violence • 9 Comments

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    Before Season 3 of Netflix’s teen-targeted suicide drama, 13 Reasons Why, is released on August 23, the Parents Television Council has appealed to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to end the series and cease its continued distribution.

    PTC President Tim Winter wrote to Hastings, attaching the signatures of more than a thousand parents, grandparents, and other concerned citizens “who think Netflix was too slow to react to concerns about the messages and imagery in 13 Reasons Why and who still believe the show should be pulled entirely.”

    Winter urged Hastings to make the connection between Netflix’s historic subscriber loss and Netflix’s continued distribution of programs like 13 Reasons Why that are targeted to children and can be harmful. Winter pointed out that this only serves to erode the trust of families who would generally be potential Netflix subscribers. The PTC outlined several solutions to Hastings that could help Netflix win back the trust of families and earn more subscribers.

    The full text of the letter is as follows:

    August 13, 2019

     

    Dear Mr. Hastings,

    I reached-out to you and your Board of Directors ahead of your June shareholder meeting, urging you to do something about the graphic suicide drama 13 Reasons Why, which a National Institutes of Health study has linked to a 30% increase in suicides among children aged 10-17.

    I was understandably heartened by Netflix’s announcement a little over a month ago that you would be removing the three-minute scene from season one that depicts Hannah’s suicide. I was also pleased that you won’t feature suicide as a theme in any future seasons of the series.

    Likewise, I publicly praised Netflix for its decision not to include portrayals of tobacco or e-cigarette use in new TV shows rated TV-14 or lower, and in movies rated TV-13 and below.

    But Mr. Hastings, Netflix still has a problem: You are losing subscribers.

    Amid reports of plummeting stock value and billions of dollars of debt, analysts are observing, “It’s notable that [Netflix] lost subscribers before they lost a meaningful amount of content and before there was direct competition from their suppliers.”

    Maybe it’s not the content that you’re losing — or about to lose — that is driving-off subscribers. Maybe it’s the content you choose to hold on to.

    Maybe it’s not enough for Netflix to try to staunch the bloodletting by pouring more money into development, trying to add content might lure folks back. Maybe you need to consider what it is you’re doing that’s driving people away.

    Many families, frustrated by the lack of family-suitable content on traditional broadcast and cable television, gladly welcomed Netflix into their homes as offering more options, flexibility and control. My guess is many of those same families quickly felt betrayed and disillusioned by the lack of control over the menu options, high visibility of pornographic and other harmful content, and lack of adequate parental controls.

    Whatever plans you may have to add more children’s programming, for many families it’s too little, too late. Whatever content you might have that’s “good” for children, you can’t package it up with content that’s deadly for children.

    Attached to this letter you will find the names of more than a thousand parents, grandparents and other concerned citizens who think Netflix was too slow to react to concerns about the messages and imagery in 13 Reasons Why and who still believe the show should be pulled entirely.

    Although removing the suicide scene was a step in the right direction, as Mark Sinyor, a psychiatrist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto notes in an LA Times Op-Ed, “The deleted suicide scene represents less than three minutes of the 12-hour run time of the show’s first season. Those hours are essentially a lengthy tutorial for young viewers on how suicide could be a predictable or even expected consequence of common stressful life events. The show presents suicide as a way to get revenge and sends a message that seeking help is pointless. Removing one shocking scene won’t change that message.”

    The Parents Television Council has identified the following three key improvements that Netflix could implement immediately to stop the hemorrhaging of subscribers:

    1. Cease distribution of content that sexualizes children – specifically: Big MouthSex Education and Desire.
    2. Stop using youth-targeted, youth-casted programming to romanticize or glorify violence, drug abuse, risky sexual behavior, and profanity.
    3. Embrace, implement and market content filtering functionalities for all Netflix-delivered programming (such as what VidAngel and others provide), so that parents can have ultimate control over the content streaming into their homes by skipping past unwanted, explicit material. We believe families would be willing to pay a premium for such a technological feature; and it could be included alongside a ‘family plan’ that allows subscribers to pay a slightly lower monthly subscription fee that would exclude Mature-rated and pornographic content, similar to what Sirius/XM Satellite Radio has offered its subscribers.

    We believe that Netflix could add millions of subscriptions if they implemented these changes and embraced what countless families want and need.

    Sincerely,

     

    Timothy F. Winter, President

    Parents Television Council

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    9 Responses to PTC to Netflix CEO: Pull the Plug on 13 Reasons Why

    1. Sandy Fetty
      August 30, 2019 at 5:51 am

      The age group you are targeting are very impressionable. They are getting to closeto the subject as you can tell by the headlines.Please give these kids time to grow up.

    2. Barbara Struckmeyer
      August 24, 2019 at 3:51 pm

      Thank you, Mr. Winter and PTC, for standing up for what parents, grandparents, and others want to view clean, wholesome family selections appropriate for people of all ages. Our viewing material should be to encourage life and strengthen relationships rather than tear down the values of human life and values. We desire to build our nation on positives lest we destroy ourselves from within as the late leader of an eastern power seeking nation predicted. I believe we need to be very intentional in the media to broadcast positive stories and factual news. Trying to outdo one another in dark sided adventures is easier than promoting good, true, just, noble, right, lovely, and edifying programs. We have choices to make that deeply affect fellow human beings for good and not for evil. Thank you for accurately representing America! That is why so many people from other countries want to live here.

    3. Michele Almquist
      August 24, 2019 at 8:04 am

      Shame On Netflix for airing this series! You’ve lost my business!

    4. Charlotte Barry
      August 22, 2019 at 2:36 pm

      13 Reasons Why and its sequels are harmful especially to our youth.

    5. Lea Hoops
      August 22, 2019 at 10:00 am

      I agree ,that 13 reasons why is trash and very destructive to youth minds. They want to follow what they see and be color see this as away out of being continually taunted.

    6. Anne Vollink
      August 22, 2019 at 9:39 am

      Mr. Hastings-

      I guess I will not be as diplomatic as many of the kind and wonderful people who are writing you. To me this is a very simple equation. Ratings equals money at any cost. To me-and you can take this as a personal attack, this is all about greed, your greed. You could care less that what you are broadcasting is linked to the death of children. You don’t care. I don’t know how old you are, but if it were your daughter or son, your granddaughter or your grandson, you might care. But I do know this much: Their mother cares, their father cares, their friends care, their community cares, but all you care about is getting richer. So, ultimately you will pay for your sins. The blood of these children is on your hands because you refuse to stop a show that is costing lives. I have 13 reasons why Netflix should be ashamed…
      Billy
      Sarah
      Edward
      Shanae
      Marsha
      Amber
      Joshua
      Laura
      David
      Zack
      LaDonna
      Deon
      Erick
      …….And I think probably most every thinking and feeling and caring individual on the planet who is aware of this travesty feels the same way. Now, we may not represent a large enough sector for it to concern you. After all money is your God. So, if the crowd who says that continuing to broadcast a show that has been linked to a 30% increase in teen suicide is not large enough to affect your bottom line, you will continue to do what you do… Put money and profits over lives. Am I angry? Very. Well I harm anyone because of my anger? No I will not. I do not believe in violence. Have I have fin did you? Hopefully. Is it politically a crap correct in America to say anything that is offensive? No. But that begs the question… 13 reasons why offends many people… I think all of us who have lost a child or a dear friend to suicide should get our own safe space, our own emotional support dogs, our own police protection, our own special laws and rules to support us, because we’ve been traumatized. Yes. We have been traumatized. Suicide traumatizes the people left behind

      I know this first hand.
      So please please please please please stop broadcasting 13 reasons why.

    7. August 22, 2019 at 8:55 am

      Stop assisting children to kill themselves and understand that it is only Gods mercy and love for you that has prevented Him from killing you for this crime against His children.

    8. Judy mickel
      August 22, 2019 at 8:43 am

      Let’s not keep the current negative mindset going. Pull the series off. Our kids don’t need it. Put positive shows on!

    9. Don's Jones
      August 22, 2019 at 8:03 am

      Stop All of your dark, disgusting programming. We dropped Netflix for this very reason. It’s trash!?

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