Netflix Renews '13 Reasons Why’ Amid Criticism

Netflix has decided to renew its original series 13 Reasons Why for a third season even as the drama show continues to draw criticism.

The streaming service Wednesday used a YouTube video to announce the renewal of the popular series, which deals with teen suicide and sexual assault. The renewal comes weeks after the May 18 launch of the series’ season two campaign.

The second season of 13 Reasons Why performed well for the streaming service in the first few days after its premiere. The series drew an average minute audience of more than 2.6 million US viewers, with viewers watching on average more than four episodes during the show’s first weekend, according to Nielsen.

Yet the show has received criticism from outside groups who believe that the show glorifies teen suicide and bullying. Advocacy group The Parents Television Council issued a statement condemning the series shortly after Netflix’s renewal announcement: “We condemn Netflix for renewing its teen-targeted suicide drama 13 Reasons Why. The company already potentially has the blood of children on their hands from keeping this series – with its graphic suicide scene, its sodomization of a teen boy and a potential school shooting, among other adult content – on its platform for children to view. The PTC will be participating in the shareholder meeting today and asking Netflix how it justifies keeping this program on the air.”

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings defended the service’s decision to renew 13 Reasons Why during the company’s annual shareholder’s meeting Wednesday, reportedly saying that the series has been successful for Netflix and “Nobody has to watch it.”

Last month, Netflix release a video ahead of the first episode featuring cast members discussing the show’s subject matter and warning that the show many not be suitable to viewers struggling with some of the issues within the show.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.