13 Reasons Why is being lauded for its honest and realistic depiction of depression and teen suicide, but there has also been a lot of controversy surrounding a scene in which the show's main character, Hannah Baker, takes her own life. Many critics have accused the scene of being too graphic or glamorizing suicide and feel that it's not doing enough to point viewers in the direction of preventative help.
Selena Gomez, the executive producer and driving force behind the hit Netflix series, addressed the backlash while on the red carpet at the We Day event in LA on Thursday. "We stayed very true to the book and that's initially what [13 Reasons Why author] Jay Asher created . . . a beautifully tragic, complicated yet suspenseful story," Selena told AP. "We wanted to do it justice and, yeah, [the backlash is] going to come no matter what," she added. "It's not an easy subject to talk about, but I'm very fortunate with how it's doing." Selena has also been vocal about her own struggles with mental health over the past year.
Selena's sentiments echo those of executive producer Brian Yorkey, who said, "We worked very hard not to be gratuitous. But we did want it to be painful to watch because we wanted to be very clear that there is nothing, in any way, worthwhile about suicide." Writer Nic Sheff opened up about their choice while touching on his own suicide attempt: "It seemed to me the perfect opportunity to show what an actual suicide really looks like - to dispel the myth of the quiet drifting off, and to make viewers face the reality of what happens when you jump from a burning building into something much, much worse."