Why Has 'Th1rteen R3asons Why' Been Banned?

May 05, 2017 8:11 AM
13 Reasons Why - Hanna And Clay
In the last couple of weeks the controversial Netflix show '13 Reason Why' has been a topic of plenty of debate but around the world schools have banned students from discussing the show, which in some countries has been given a new strict 18+ classification.

Unless your head has been buried in the sand, you can't have failed to have heard about '13 Reasons Why' and if you've seen they show then you've probably discussed the heartbreaking story of Liberty High School student Hannah Baker with friends.

The show tells the story of Clay, a socially awkward teenaged boy who is in possession of a series of cassette tapes which contain recordings made by his class mate, Hannah detailing the 13 reasons why she killed herself.

The show is a tough watch from start to finish and addresses some serious issues which affect teenagers including bullying, sexual assault, and suicide. While the show has been praised by some, others claim that the show deals with the topics in an insensitive way and go as far as saying that they glorify suicide, depicting it as an "easy way out."

As a result of the criticism, several school districts across Canada have banned the show and even banned pupils from talking about its content on school grounds. Schools have also sent out emails to parents advising them not to allow their children to watch the show.

One letter read "the discussion that is unfolding at school is troubling, this series is rated Mature and the theme is the suicide of a high school student. This show includes graphic violence (rape) and gore, profanity, alcohol/drugs/smoking, and frightening/intense scenes. The purpose of this email is to provide you with this information. Please let your child know that discussion of 13 Reasons Why is not permitted at school due to the disturbing subject matter."

One school posted a note online which said they thought the show contained "glamorisation of suicidal behaviour and negative portrayals of helping professionals," a comment on Liberty High's communications teacher Mrs. Bradley and school counsellor Mr. Porter.

In New Zealand, authorities are using tougher restrictions to ensure young children and teens don't get to see the show. The country's Office of Film And Literature went as far as to create a new censorship category known as RP18 which enforces an immediate restriction on the show to prevent under 18-year-olds watching it unless accompanied by an adult.

The NZ censors said the new classification was necessary as previous film classification did not block 16 and 17-year-olds, who they say are the prime age-group at risk of suicide, in a country with one of the highest rates of teenage suicide in the world, with an average of two young people taking their own life each week.

Here in the UK, the Samaritans have said it is "not acceptable" and "extremely concerning" for a show to fall outside of censorship and media regulations because it's broadcast on a streaming service rather than traditional media.

However, Netflix say they've worked with the British Board of Film Classification and Kiwi authorities on a classification, there is already a warning before certain episodes which says "the following episode contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing and/or may not be suitable for younger audiences, including graphic depictions of rape and sexual assault. Viewer discretion is advised."

While the show has received its fair share of complaints, some mental have charities have praised the show's attempt to tackle difficult topics and said the series had "significant merit" by addressing issues "highly relevant" to young people.

So put simply, why had '13 Reasons Why' be banned for under-18s in certain territories? Because it contains scene of graphic violence including sexual assault and rape, profanity,  drug and alcohol use, and suicide.

What Happened To Hannah At Jessica's Party?

13 Reasons Why - Jessica's Party

Early on in the season there are hints that Clay has got some surprises coming to him and that things are about to get a lot darker. As a number of Clay's classmates have already heard the complete set of tapes, they know what's coming and express their concerns with quotes like "I think it all started the night of Jessica's party" and "what happens when he gets to the stuff about my party?"

We don't get to find out what Justin, Jessica, Zach, Marcus and Courtney are trying to hide until we finally get to see what happened at the party in episode nine and it's easily the show's most disturbing scene to date.

In her recordings of tape 5, side B, Hannah explains that her and Clay got together in a bedroom at the party, she was really into Clay and wanted their encounter to happen but when they got down to it, she's unable to go through with it due to her recent emotional problem and she pushes him away.

Clay leaves Hannah alone in the room and hides in a wardrobe when moments later Justin enters the room carrying Jessica, she's had far too much to drink and needs to be put to bed. He leaves the room to get Jess some water, Hannah then hears him talking to Bryce outside the bedroom door.

Before she knows it, Bryce has entered the room to have his way with Jessica who is semi-conscious and unable to say "no," although she does try to protest. Hannah is forced to witness Bryce raping Jessica. Justin does attempt to stop the attack but Bryce pushes him out of the room.

Although you might think that Bryce deserves to be the 9th reason and the subject of this tape, it's actually Justin who Hannah singles out for a second time, she says in her recording that Justin allowed Bryce to rape Jessica and that he should have done more to stop him.

Jessica is adamant that the revelations on the tape are nothing more than lies made up by Hannah, but as the series continues we learn that she's just in denial about the horrific attack on her.

Why Did '13 Reasons Why' Show Hannah's Graphic Suicide?

13 Reasons Why - Suicide Scene

There were a few scenes in '13 Reasons Why' which made for very distressing viewing, of course there were the rape scenes featuring Bryce but the moment which has caused the most controversy is the very graphic depiction of Hannah's suicide.

The show's writer, Nic Sheff has addressed concerns about the disturbing scene in a bathtub in a letter written to Vanity Fair. Critics have labelled that heart-breaking scene as "irresponsible" and a "glorification of suicide" but Nic says they worked hard to "depict the suicide with as much detail and accuracy as possible."

Nic himself has struggled with mental health and addiction as a former crystal-meth user. In his letter, Nic recalled a story her once heard of one woman who attempted to take her own life, and that the memory of her story came to him in the moment he tried to take his life. "The whole story came back to me in heightened detail. It was an instant reminder that suicide is never peaceful and painless, but instead an excruciating, violent end to all hopes and dreams and possibilities for the future," he wrote, "it staggered me and it saved my life."

However, The Metro's Hattie Gladwell wrote, "Instead of reflecting on how Hannah was feeling in that moment, they cut from the tapes and jumped straight to the scene of her in the bath. They made it look like a quick and easy way out, which just didn’t sit right with me at all. Attempting suicide by harming yourself in that way can result in various different situations – all of which are incredibly dangerous."

What Are Hannah's 13 Reasons In '13 Reasons Why?'

13 Reasons Why - The Reasons

Reason 1: Justin Foley (Tape 1, Side A)
The reason in Hannah's first recording is Justin, a jock who she dates as the new girl in school. Hannah has always imagined what her first kiss would be like and when the moment finally comes in a playground at night, there are consequences she never could have imagined after a photo he takes off her whizzing down a slide reveals too much gets sent around her school.

Reason 2: Jessica Davis (Tape 1, Side B)
In a bid to try and help Hannah make new friends in the town, a teacher introduces her to another new girl, Jess. They soon form a "hot chocolate friendship" and invite a boy called Alex into their gang but things go wrong when Jess and Alex shun Hannah and start dating behind her back.

Reason 3: Alex Standall (Tape 2, Side A)
Alex includes Hannah on a list which compares the girls of Liberty High School physical attributes, as a result of this list Hanna is harassed and objectified by guys at school, including Bryce, who goes so far as to grab her ass.

Reason 4: Tyler Down (Tape 2, Side B)
Hannah becomes aware of the fact that someone is stalking her and taking her photos but she's unaware that it's Tyler, the school creep and a camera nerd. When Hannah befriends a girl in school named Courtney they devise a plan to catch the stalker but it backfires when Tyler catches the girls on camera in an apparent compromising situation after drinking too much liquor stolen from her parent's stash.

Reason 5: Courtney Crimsen (Tape 3, Side A)
Following on from the previous recording where Tyler snaps an intimate moment between Hannah and Courtney, Hannah makes Courtney her next reason for ending her life. Courtney lies to cover up her own sexuality and claims that the girl with Hannah in the photo is someone other than her.

Reason 6: Marcus Cole (Tape 3, Side B)
Hannah is matched with Marcus in the school's Dollar Valentine Quiz and agrees to go on a date with him to a local diner, he shows up with a group of other lads from the school and tries to impress them by putting his hand up her skirt.

Reason 7: Zach Dempsey (Tape 4, Side A)
After the incident with Marcus in the previous recording, one of his friends, Zach checks in with Hannah to make sure she's OK. He seems genuinely concerned for her wellbeing and become friends but when Zach asks Hannah out and she turns him down, he turns on Hannah and sets out to make her life even more miserable.

Reason 8: Ryan Shaver (Tape 4, Side B)
In an attempt to make new friends, Hannah joins a poetry workshop she meets Ryan. Hannah shares a deep and personal poem with Ryan, but he betrays her and publishes it without her permission in the school's literary magazine. Her poem becomes another source of torment for Hannah as fellow students share it around and mock her about its contents.

Reason 9: Justin Foley (Tape 5, Side A)
Hannah ends up alone in a bedroom and Jessica's house party, she hides in wardrobe when she hears someone else enter the room, it's Justin putting Jess to bed as she's drunk dar too much. Before she can escape the room, Bryce comes in and rapes her, she's almost unconscious but managed to mumbles "no" a few times, but Bryce continues. Hannah blames Justin as much as Bryce for this, she says in her recording that he should have done more to stop the attack.

Reason 10: Sheri Holland (Tape 5, Side B)
Sheri drives Hannah home from Jessica's party but as she had too much alcohol, ends up loosing control of the car and knocking over a stop sign. Hannah is concerned that the missing sign could cause an accident but Sheri is too concerned about getting in trouble to inform the police. Unfortunately Hannah is right, before she can contact the police a fellow Liberty High student, Jeff is killed in a car accident as a result of the missing warning sign.

Reason 11: Clay Jensen (Tape 6, Side A)
Throughout the series Clay has been struggling to understand what he did to Hannah which resulted in him being including in her recordings, but when Clay finally gets to his tape he finds that she has dedicated a tape to him, not because he bullied her but as a way of apologising to him, she admits that she had hoped that they had got together.

Reason 12: Bryce Walker (Tape 6, Side B)
Although Hannah knows how dangerous Bryce can be, she makes the mistake of wandering into one of his legendary house parties and unfortunately ends up alone with him in a hot tub. This results in one of the series' most disturbing scenes and Bryce rapes Hannah. This seemed to be the final straw, Hannah says in her recording that Bryce broke her soul and from this moment on started planning her tapes.

Reason 13: Kevin Porter (Tape 7, Side A)
Hannah cries out for help one last time but school counsellor, Mr. Porter fails to pick up on Hannah's immediate crisis and does nothing to help her. Hannah recorded the whole conversation with Mr. Porter which becomes the subject of her final tape.

'13 Reasons Why' Official Trailer

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