Netflix removes the controversial suicide scene from the # 13 reasons why & # 39;

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Netflix
Inc.

removed a suicide scene from an episode of the first season of his popular 13 Reasons Why children's drama, following a debate about whether the show increased the risk of suicide among teenagers.

Based on the book of the same name, "13 Reasons Why" talks about a depressed high school girl who takes her life and sends a classmate to a tape explaining why she did it and who she blames.

In the final episode of the first season – the story is told in flashback – the protagonist Hannah is shown cutting her wrists in the bathtub.

While a Netflix spokesman declined to comment, the company tweeted early Tuesday that, on the advice of medical experts, he decided to change the scene from the episode. The show is produced by

Viacom
Inc.

The unit Paramount Television, which supported the decision to remove the scene, said a person close to the show.

"13 reasons why" has been praised by critics but criticized by health defenders and some media observers who fear it glorifies suicide. The show, presented for the first time in March 2017, will begin the third season this year.

A study funded by the National Institutes of Health suggested that "13 reasons why" was an increase in suicide for adolescents. The study found that the suicide rate among people aged 10 to 17 rose by about a third in April 2017, the month following the Netflix show. Some school officials have issued warnings and directions to parents about the show.

At the time of the study, a Netflix spokesman said: "It is a subject of fundamental importance, and we have worked hard to ensure that we handle this delicate problem responsibly."

At the company's annual 2018 meeting, CEO Reed Hastings was questioned about the possibility that the show put teenagers at risk and said, "It is controversial, but no one should watch it."

Within Netflix, it was discussed whether the show could put teenagers at risk. After the first season, Netflix added a graphic content warning and included information for a suicide prevention hotline and a website that offers advice in the event of a crisis.

Changing a scene on a TV show is rare. Some episodes of television series were withdrawn from the market due to new sensibilities, the most recent this year when the producers of "The Simpsons" removed an episode that contained Michael Jackson.

Write to Joe Flint a joe.flint@wsj.com

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