June 7, 2018
Netflix has approved a third season of its controversial teen original drama, “13 Reasons Why,” despite pushback from a parents group calling on Netflix to drop the show.
The series is about fictional teenage girl Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) explaining posthumously why she committed suicide.
The SVOD behemoth announced the third season June 6, the same day of its annual shareholder meeting. CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings said “13 Reasons Why” has been “enormously popular and successful” among its subscribers, without providing exact numbers.
Nielsen claimed the recent launch of the show’s second season generated 2.6 million viewers. Netflix does not officially reveal viewership data of its original programming.
Hastings admitted the show is controversial, which is what he has long advocated Netflix must do to separate itself in the cluttered media landscape.
“But nobody has to watch it,” Hastings told shareholders.
Which is exactly what the Parents Television Council, a Los Angeles-based conservative Christian advocacy group founded in 1995, hopes to accomplish through an online petition launched last month.
Claiming to want to protect “young minds from dangerous streaming content,” the group – in the petition – is asking Netflix to immediately cease streaming season two of “13 Reasons Why,” in addition to implementing a pricing structure that enables Netflix subs to opt-out of streaming “sexually explicit, graphically violent, and harshly profane programming.”
“Netflix has delivered a ticking time bomb to teens and children who watch ‘13 Reasons Why.’ The content and thematic elements of the second season are even worse than we expected,” Tim Winter, president of PTC, said in a statement. “We would have liked to have 13 reasons for hope and redemption following the graphic suicide of the lead female teen character, but rather than providing a path forward, the season only provides cause for despondency.”
The PTC itself has long courted its own controversy, with critics contending the group is doing nothing more than promoting censorship. Indeed, the FCC reportedly disclosed in 2004 that the majority of its content complaints originated from the PTC.