Nic Sheff, the writer of 13 Reasons Why has defended the Netflix show after it received criticism from mental health organisations around the world for its depiction of suicide.
In a guest column for Vanity Fair, Sheff has attempted to clear the air surrounding the detailed presentation of the series’ protagonist Hannah’s suicide citing his own example.
“Writer Nic Sheff is no stranger to self-harm. A longtime crystal-meth user and the subject of his father’s best-selling memoir, Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction, Sheff himself once tried to take his own life. He brought that experience to his role as writer of Episode 6 of 13 Reasons Why, and to the op-ed below, in which Sheff shares why the series thought it was vital to show Hannah Baker’s entire journey—even its very upsetting end,” the Vanity Fair article begins.
“(W)hen it came time to discuss the portrayal of the protagonist’s suicide in 13 Reasons Why, I of course immediately flashed on my own experience. It seemed to me the perfect opportunity to show what an actual suicide really looks like.
“It overwhelmingly seems to me that the most irresponsible thing we could’ve done would have been not to show the death at all...” he wrote.
Sheff adds the fact “we’re even having these discussions speaks of real progress to me.”
The Netflix series has been produced by singer Selena Gomez. It premiered on March 31.
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