Executive produced by 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.
Now speaking to the Associated Press, Gomez has said: “We stayed very true to the book and that’s initially what [author] Jay Asher created was a beautifully tragic, complicated yet suspenseful story and I think that’s what we wanted to do. We wanted to do it justice and, yeah, [the backlash is] gonna come no matter what. It’s not an easy subject to talk about, but I’m very fortunate with how it’s doing.”
She also told E! News that the controversy could open up a dialogue about teen suicide, adding: “I just wanted it to come across in a way that kids would be frightened, but confused, and in a way that they would talk about it because it’s something that’s happening all the time.”
13 Reasons Why is already the most tweeted-about show of the year.
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.”