Viewers have accused the show of side-stepping mental illness and romanticizing death, particularly when it comes to an individual taking their own life.
“We stayed very true to the book and that’s initially what [author] Jay Asher created, was a beautifully tragic, complicated yet suspenseful story. And I think that’s what we wanted to do,” Selena told the Associated Press of the series, which is based on the 2007 novel of the same name.
Dylan Minnette and Katherine Langford in 13 Reasons Why.
“We wanted to do it justice and, yeah, [the backlash is] going to come no matter what. It’s not an easy subject to talk about, but I’m very fortunate with how it’s doing and I’m overwhelmed, very proud of it,” she added.
The story revolves around a high schooler named Hannah Baker, who, after committing suicide, leaves 13 cassette tapes behind detailing the events (and the people behind them) that led to her death.
Dylan Minnette — who plays Clay, one of Hannah’s friends who’s secretly in love with her — also defended the show on Ellen DeGeneres. “The main goal, I think, overall is just to start conversations that we think are necessary to be had and to bring these issues to light and to show them in a real way,” he explained. “And, if people are talking about it, we reached our goal — ’cause these conversations… people need to talk about this.”
Ellen expressed her support of the series. “I think it’s amazing,” she said. “And, I think the reason it’s resonating is most people… [have] experienced some type of that abuse, whatever it is, and there’s a lot of different things that happen.”
Now, we’ll just have to wait and see if the controversy leads to a Season 2.