This post contains spoilers for the second series of ’13 Reasons Why’.
As you may recall, the first series of Netflix’s ‘13 Reasons Why’ was heavily criticised over its depiction of suicide, in particular a scene in which the lead character took her own life, which sparked a lot of conversation over whether it had crossed a line with its graphic content.
Prior to the second series’ debut, it looked as though those in charge had learned their lesson, particularly when it was revealed that each episode will now feature a video featuring the show’s cast, serving as a trigger warning.
However, with more viewers now nearing the end of the show’s second run, it would appear this is not the case, with ‘13 Reasons Why’ once again facing criticism over its graphic content, this time relating to a sexual assault.
The scene in question comes in the 13th and final episode of series two, after Tyler Down (played by Devin Druid), falls in with a new crowd of punks, who take a liking to his jaded attitude.
Things quickly take a downward turn for Tyler, though, as towards the end of the episode, he is followed into a bathroom and sexually assaulted with a mop by the group he thought were his new friends.
Many who have either watched or heard about the scene have been expressing concern on social media in the past few days, claiming the moment in question is gratuitously violent and could be unnecessarily triggering for survivors of sexual assault:
13 reasons why season two, episode 13. Why would you ever make people see that. That has happened to someone close to my hometown. And I am appalled that you would put that in your show. You have crossed a line. #thirteenreasonswhy2— lauren :) (@laurenxgrace_13) May 22, 2018
i just specifically watched an assault scene in 13 reasons why to see what everyone was talking about and honestly i cannot understand how anyone justifies watching and/or liking this show. i’m absolutely shocked and appalled by what i just saw— angelina nicolosi (@angnickelodeon) May 21, 2018
just read a synopsis of 13 reasons why s2 and i gotta say it feels well past time modern television realizes that showing horrific trauma isn't a shortcut to deeper meaning, it's usually just cynical and gratuitous. teens deserve better— Andrew Sampson (@andrewsampson_) May 19, 2018
whoever fucking approved that scene in the last episode of 13 Reasons Why Season 2 is actually insane. That doesn't "raise awareness" or prove a point about anything. It's gratuitous, nasty and only there in a vain attempt to recreate the controversy of Hannah's suicide— 🌪macy🌪 (@notdeadquiteyet) May 19, 2018
Wow 13 Reasons Why really out here creating more triggering rape story lines to outdo season 1. S1 had the mystery of the tapes, you can't try to create interest by showing yet again a violent rape. Teen lives are not disposable idc if it's fiction— Faima Bakar (@FaimaBakar) May 21, 2018
after discovering an extremely violent scene in the new series of 13 reasons why, you can really tell they never listened to people’s issues. yes they put disclaimers, but the scene itself was terrifying.— ruby mcilroy (@rubymcilroyox) May 21, 2018
@Netflix I've read the spoilers for 13 Reasons Why and it has only reinforced my anger at your decision to cancel #Sense8. How dare you depict GRAPHIC scenes of violent rape & sodomy and make money off of triggering viewers. You had the choice to spread love instead of suffering.— AmorVincitOmnia 6/8/18 (@Sense8orWar) May 20, 2018
fuck 13 reasons why man, that last episode had graphic GRAPHIC content that should of had an extreme watch caution. i never ever get affected by things that were previously shown on this show, but the final episode of 13rw had me shaking & in tears & this is the "warning" we got pic.twitter.com/4jensjBWnp— lauryn (@nedirections) May 19, 2018
and it wasnt just rape, it was a graphic assault, something NOT made for television and i dont want to hear anyone from the 13rw team say "its for awareness!!!!" because it's not!! it was graphic, traumatising and violent and even people who dont get affected GOT affected— lauryn (@nedirections) May 19, 2018
and the thing that REALLY bugs me is that this show would have to go through 100s of people to be approved after last seasons atrocities and yet there was obviously no "....hm... how about we dont add in that GRAPHIC, triggering, traumatising, sodomy scene"— lauryn (@nedirections) May 19, 2018
I have defended 13 Reasons Why but that bathroom scene completely crossed the line, there was no need. I am sobbing. How fucking horrible. I feel sick.— Lanna (@OrlannaMorris) May 20, 2018
ok, officially: FUCK 13 Reasons Why! FUCK its derivative narratives, its gratuitous portrayal of rape, its total dismissal of mental illness, and its gross obsession with shock factor as opposed to actual decent storytelling— hannah 🌷 (@hnichollee) May 20, 2018
13 Reasons Why had so much potential to instill a positive message about mental health yet chose to convey such gratuitous scenes?... i’LL PASS— Imo / 11 (@otrasnarrie) May 21, 2018
13 Reasons Why is trash. It is completely possible to start important conversations about suicide, mental health and sexual assault without showing graphic rape and suicide scenes.— Sprout🌱🌱 (@SproutChinn) May 19, 2018
13 Reasons Why was pushing it by graphically showing rape/suicide/heroin use but the bathroom scene in the last episode of the new season was shocking and disturbing and absolutely uncalled for, and I think the show should be taken off Netflix. There are kids watching that, too.— shi glizzy 🐝🍄🌞 (@shi__guy) May 20, 2018
There are some viewers who have continued to praise ‘13 Reasons Why’, though, saying the graphic content helps deliver a realistic portrayal of the horrors of sexual abuse, and points out each episode does have both a content warning at the beginning and advice for those affected at the end:
Are you pissed about 13 Reasons Why? Disgusted? Does it make you feel uncomfortable? Appalled? Angry? Good. Because it's inspired by things that literally happen every single day that no one wants to talk about. I'm glad it's started a conversation.— Linds🌲 (@schminsylindsey) May 21, 2018
Why is everyone bashing the bathroom scene in 13 reasons why? You’re watching something you know is going to be traumatic based on what happened in the first one. It’s good they’re showing how vile and violent it can be instead of panning away from scene.— Rachael Williamson (@Rachael_w93) May 22, 2018
Unpopular opinion:— ; (@aesthetiine) May 20, 2018
No one's forcing you to watch 13 reasons why. There is a trigger warning at the beginning of the episode telling you not to watch if you can't handle it. There were warnings before the second season even started. And I don't think it glorifies suicide.
the reason people hate 13 reasons why so much is because it's so honest and doesn't shy away from anything. if you can't handle the truth of the world, just don't watch the series. it gives you a warning at the start of the season that the show is heavy and might not be for you.— ethan || taylegend (@stuartkinq75) May 19, 2018
As someone who deals with anxiety/depression, 13 reasons why season 2 is so important.Tyler's bathroom scene SHOULD make you sick. it was based on real stories. These things are hard to talk about, If anything is gonna get better we have to stop ignoring them #metoo— Kat Gray (@worldreason) May 22, 2018
People are so upset by the scene with Tyler in the last episode of 13 reasons why season 2. You SHOULD be upset, this is WHY they chose to include a scene so explicit and shocking. To make people aware, to get people talking about bullying and rape. Because it fucking happens!— Lindsay Clement (@Lindsay_Clement) May 20, 2018
AND people are so upset because “they didn’t include trigger warnings”. YES, they did. In the beginning of the season and at the beginning of the last episode!! they warned us of EVERYTHING that was going to happen. You’re the one who chooses to keep watching.— Lindsay Clement (@Lindsay_Clement) May 20, 2018
AND at the end of each episode they provide you with information and websites to seek out if you need help.— Lindsay Clement (@Lindsay_Clement) May 20, 2018
As much as I hated the Monty/Tyler scene in 13 reasons why I'm happy it shed a light on male victims. Sexual assault and rape is never about sex and all about the power they have over you. Such a heartbreaking scene. Thank god for Clay at the end 😭 #13ReasonsWhy#13ReasonsWhy2— Jodi B (@jodibwithoutane) May 19, 2018
Following the scene, Tyler plans to bring a gun with him to the school dance, with the intention of shooting his fellow students, but is stopped by his friends.
A premiere event for the second series of ’13 Reasons Why’ was cancelled earlier this week out of sensitivity, following the Santa Fe High School shooting, which took the lives of 10 victims.