A graphic scene depicting a teenager’s suicide is being removed from young adult drama 13 Reasons Why following advice from medical experts.
Netflix said it had decided to edit the controversial scene in a statement released on Twitter on Tuesday, more than two years on from when it first aired.
The show, based on a book of the same name, tells the story of protagonist Hannah Baker, played by Katherine Langford, who leaves behind a series of 13 tapes describing why she decided to take her life.
In its statement, Netflix said: “We’ve heard from many young people that 13 Reasons Why encouraged them to start conversations about difficult issues like depression and suicide.”
The company said it had “decided with the creator Brian Yorkey and the producers of 13 Reasons Why to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life”.
While critically acclaimed, the show drew criticism from groups including the Parents Television Council (PTC), which accused it of glorifying teen suicide.
The PTC, which had previously called for Netflix to drop the show, has praised the move to edit the scene.
“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,” it said in a statement.
The American Association of Suicidology and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention are among others welcoming the move.
Suicides by young people in the US rose by almost a third in the month following the 2017 streaming debut of the series, a US study found.
The National Institutes of Health-supported study found a 28.9% increase in suicide rates among US youths aged 10-17 in April 2017. It said there was an additional estimated 195 suicide deaths in that age bracket from April to December 2017, versus expectations based on past data.
However, the researchers said the study had limitations and that they could not make a direct “causal link” between 13 Reasons Why and the rise, or rule out other factors.
At the time of its release, the streaming service had defended its decision to include the scene, which came with a warning for viewers that it “may not be suitable for younger audiences”.
Following the initial backlash, Netflix added information about crisis helplines.
A second season was released in May 2018 and a third season has been ordered.