The Netflix original series “13 Reasons Why” has been stirring up controversy since it was released in March.
Many parents and school officials have expressed concern about the show, which focuses on the suicide of a fictional high school student named Hannah Baker and the aftermath of her death.
The series was an overnight success with teens, quickly becoming Netflix’s “most-tweeted-about show” after it earned 3.5 million tweets in just a week.
But the show’s popularity came at a price.Image Credit: Screenshot/Facebook
Teens drawn in the by the show’s dark themes started to show an increase in “at-risk” behavior and attributed their actions to the series.
Some school officials sent letters to parents warning them that students may be inspired by Hannah Baker’s suicide.
Even experts at the National Association of School Psychologists warned that the show may glamorize the act of suicide. They wrote:
We do not recommend that vulnerable youth, especially those who have any degree of suicidal ideation, watch this series. Its powerful storytelling may lead impressionable viewers to romanticize the choices made by the characters and/or develop revenge fantasies.
On the show, Hannah Baker commits suicide and leaves behind 13 tapes for the people she thought influenced her decision to commit suicide, who were then forced to listen to her sad tale.
It’s a work of fiction, but now it may have become the inspiration for someone’s reality.
According to People, a 23-year-old man in Peru committed suicide recently, and his death bears a striking resemblance to that of Hannah Baker.Image Credit: Screenshot/Facebook
The man, Franco Alonso Lazo Medrano, jumped off his fourth-floor balcony and shouted: “I can’t stand a heartbreak.” He later died in a nearby hospital, according to the Diario Clarín.
But it’s what he left behind that has alarm bells ringing.
Just like Hannah Baker, Medrano left behind a series of tapes, along with instructions for who they should go to.
Police found two suicide notes in the man’s home. One was addressed to a loved one, and the other laid out the instructions for his tapes, which were recorded on his computer.
Like Hannah Baker, he said the people on the tapes led him to commit suicide, according to People.
While he did not cite “13 Reasons Why” directly, it seems likely the man was inspired by the series.Screenshot/Facebook
Despite the controversy surrounding the series, executive producer Selena Gomez has vehemently defended “13 Reasons Why.”
The pop star said that producers wanted to stay true to the source material, Jay Asher’s 2007 book of the same name. She said:
“We stayed very true to the book. That’s initially what [author] Jay Asher created, a beautifully tragic, complicated yet suspenseful story, and I think that’s what we wanted to do.
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.”
She has not commented on Medrano’s suicide.