PTC Calls Netflix CEO’s Response to 13 Reasons Why Backlash “Callous”

Written by PTC | Published June 7, 2018


After Netflix's renewal of the controversial series for a third season, PTC announces an online petition advocating removal of the program from Netflix.

The Parents Television Council issued a statement challenging Netflix CEO Reed Hasting’s response to a question he received at the company shareholder meeting yesterday concerning the backlash against 13 Reasons Why, and announced an online petition for people to sign urging Netflix to cease distribution of the series. According to Deadline, Hastings said, “13 Reasons Why has been enormously popular and successful. It’s engaging content. It is controversial. But nobody has to watch it.” Suicide HotlineSeason 1 of 13 Reasons Why was cloaked in explicit sexual violence, profanity and substance abuse; and it included what is likely the most graphic suicide scene ever produced for video or film, that of the lead teenage female character slitting her wrists. Among the volumes of dark, explicit content on season 2 is a teenage boy graphically being sodomized with a mop; this boy then seeks revenge by planning a school shooting. Academic research demonstrated a 26% increase in the Google search term for “How to Kill Myself” following the Season 1 release. “For the health and welfare of children, I challenge Mr. Hastings immediately to re-think his callous response that ‘nobody has to watch it.’ He is ostensibly proclaiming that financial gain for Netflix trumps the real-life consequences of his programming. Is that what Mr. Hastings and Netflix stand for in today’s world of #MeToo, whereby women who are sexually harassed in the workplace are told ‘nobody has to work here?’ Is that his opinion on marketing tobacco to children, or for other dangerous products that enter the stream of commerce and cause injury or death, that ‘nobody needs to buy it?’” said PTC President Tim Winter. “13 Reasons Why is the most toxic program ever marketed to children, but don’t just take our word for it. Suicide prevention experts and other members of the medical community have spoken publicly about their concerns over the potentially harmful impact of the show on children; schools all over the U.S. have warned parents about the series; pro-family organizations and advocates have called on Netflix to remove the program and have heard from tens of thousands of concerned citizens through online petitions against the show; commentators in the media, both internationally and in the U.S., have opined that the series presents suicide in a dangerous, glamorous manner; and the worst of all, we’ve even heard news reports and stories about children who took their own lives after binge-watching the first season. “The corporate hypocrisy was recently on center stage, when the company canceled its premiere of the series in light of the most recent mass shooting in a Texas school. It wasn’t the premiere party for the show that was insensitive; it was the content of the show itself. So they canceled the party, yet released the show. Such conduct by a publicly-traded corporation is morally and ethically bankrupt. “Mr. Hastings, you’re better than this. But sadly, your statement yesterday suggests that your much-heralded artistic freedom for Hollywood’s creative community is more important than the lives of your customers, or indeed, the lives of children around the world. “Our efforts on this campaign have only just begun. At this time, we are urging members of the public to sign our petition calling on Netflix to reverse course and stop distributing this harmful program on its platform.” The PTC is encouraging individuals to sign its petition found at urging Netflix to cease distribution of 13 Reasons Why and to implement a pricing structure that allows Netflix subscribers to opt-out of receiving and paying for sexually explicit, graphically violent, and harshly profane programming.
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