“13 Reasons Why” has been under fire for its graphic portrayals of teen life and suicide. Selena Gomez, one of the executive producers on the Netflix drama series, says that it’s just reflecting back what’s happening in reality.
“This is happening every day,” Gomez said when asked about the controversy Monday on the national radio show,”Elvis Duran and the Morning Show.” “Whether or not you wanted to see it, that’s what’s happening.”
“13 Reasons Why” follows a group of high school students who find out that they’re all involved in a female classmate’s decision to commit suicide from recordings she made before taking her life. The series not only depicts alcohol and drug abuse, extreme bullying, and sexual assaults by the teens, it also graphically shows the teen girl’s suicide. Critics and mental-health experts have argued that the show “glamorizes suicide” in a way that could be harmful to teen viewers or viewers who are contemplating or have contemplated suicide.
Since the show’s debut back in March, it has been mired in such complaints. In response, Netflix added new warnings on episodes.
While Gomez, who acquired the TV rights to Jay Asher’s bestselling novel of the same name seven years ago, understands why people are outraged, she didn’t apologize for the graphic nature of “13 Reasons Why.”
“The content is complicated,” she said of the show, which has been renewed for a second season. “It’s dark and it has moments that are honestly very hard to swallow. And I understood that we were doing something that is difficult. But these kids today are so exposed to things that I would never even comprehend when I was eight. My cousin teaches third grade and they’re doing things and saying things that I couldn’t even fathom.”
Watch Gomez address the “13 Reasons Why” controversy below: