Scene-cutting by Netflix a first step; groups grateful
Thursday, July 18, 2019
Bill Bumpas, Jody Brown (OneNewsNow.com)
The persistent push by pro-family groups advocating for decency in media has paid off in a big way.
For more than two years, groups like American Family Association and Parents Television Council have been warning Netflix about the potential harm to children because of the explicit content on the teen-targeted original series 13 Reasons Why. Now this week, the streaming giant has announced it is removing a graphic teen suicide scene from Season 1.
The creator of the show, Brian Yorkey, tweeted that the intent behind the graphic scene was to "make sure no one would ever wish to emulate it." But in an Action Alert to its supporters on Wednesday, AFA cites reports showing a spike in suicides among children in the U.S. (ages 10-17) in the month following the release of the controversial series.
"By pulling the graphic suicide scene, Netflix has finally acknowledged the harmful influence that 13 Reasons Why is capable of inflicting on teens," says AFA. "Along with AFA's repeated warnings, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention joined the cause by advising Netflix to remove the scene. Finally, they may be listening to common sense."
The show's producers explained they heard concerns from mental health experts and decided, in conjunction with Netflix, to remove the scene. While PTC president Tim Winter wishes the move had happened when his group originally asked for it, he says better late than never.
"The collective choir was able finally to get through to the hierarchy at Netflix," he tells OneNewsNow. "We're grateful; we need to take a moment and cherish this positive step forward that we know that we as advocates made possible.
"But it also then requires us to redouble our efforts as we move forward [and to] make sure that Netflix redoubles its effort to be better."
In Winter's eyes, this move by Netflix draws a line in the sand for Hollywood. "I do believe that there are more people in Hollywood who are recognizing the impact that their content has on society, on real human beings and their interactions," he shares.
PTC says Netflix is "at a pivotal moment" and still has a long way to go in being responsible as a platform for entertainment. AFA agrees, saying the streaming network is "has the opportunity to distance its close association with teen suicide by completely removing the series altogether. We hope it will … before another child is lost."
Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates OneNewsNow.com.
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