New Zealand has ruled that under-18s can only watch controversial new Netflix show 13 Reasons Why with their parents.
Executive produced by Selena Gomez, 13 Reasons Why launched on the streaming service on March 31. It tells the story of a teenage girl who reveals the reasons she committed suicide through a series of tapes sent to members of her peer group.
Recently, an Australian mental health charity warned that 13 Reasons Why contains “dangerous content”. Actress Shannon Purser – Barb from Stranger Things – has also said she thinks the show isn’t suitable for some more vulnerable viewers.
BBC Newsbeat now reports that the show has been reclassified in New Zealand, with the country’s Office of Film & Literature Classification creating a new category for the show: RP18, which means any individuals under that age must be supervised by an adult.
“The most immediate concern for the Classification Office is how teen suicide is discussed and shown in 13 Reasons Why,” reads a statement by the Office of Film & Literature Classification. “Hannah’s suicide is presented fatalistically. Her death is represented at times as not only a logical, but an unavoidable outcome of the events that follow. Suicide should not be presented to anyone as being the result of clear headed thinking. Suicide is preventable, and most people who experience suicidal thoughts are not thinking rationally and therefore cannot make logical decisions.”
The show’s writer has previously responded to criticism of the way it portrays suicide.
“When it came time to discuss the portrayal of the protagonist’s suicide in 13 Reasons Why, I of course immediately flashed on my own experience,” writer Nic Scheff said. “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.”