The father of a teen who committed suicide in 2017 after watching Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why is speaking out against the network’s new anti-suicide warning it plans to air at the start of each new season.
John Herndon, of Livermore, Calif.told RadarOnline.com that the inclusion of a warning is “too late.”
“It’s like putting a Band-Aid on a broken leg. It’s not going to help,” Herndon blasted the network and its executive producer, Selena Gomez.
Netflix distributed a press release marking the change – in addition to a couple others – on its website. The warning will come in the form of “a custom intro at the start of each season with the cast,” the release explained.
The warning was a result of a study Netflix performed on the show, showing that “two-thirds of parents in our study asked to have the cast come out of character to discuss how to get support,” according to the release.
Herndon and his wife, Donna, discovered their 15-year-old daughter, Bella, hung in her closet on April 18, 2017. The teenager was rushed to the hospital and died 10 days later. After Bella’s death, the parents learned she had watched the Netflix series.
Herndon told Radar last year he was interested in suing Gomez, who produces the series along with her mom, Mandy Teefey. But taking on a multi-million dollar pop star in court isn’t exactly feasible, he said.
The study also proved that a majority of parents “want more guidance from mental health experts,” causing Netflix to add a viewing guide for parents and teens. There will also be an after show about the content, the release explains.
Despite these changes, Herndon said he specifically finds it “disgusting” that the Netflix show is targeted towards a teenage audience.
“The whole point of them doing this was they wanted to raise awareness about teen suicide,” fired Herndon. “The way they chose to do that was to showcase a young teenage girl being raped, being denied access to any adult’s help, watching a girl be forced to watch her friends get raped, bullying at school, being constantly turned away by people she was close to – this is how they bring awareness to teen suicide?”
“Then they finish off by rewriting of the [book’s] end to show a very graphic portrayal of suicide,” the California father continued. “To market this show to teens is wrong.”
Herndon said he believes the season 2 warning featuring cast members will not “make any difference whatsoever.”
He also had a strong message for the global pop star: “Selena, grow up.”
Herndon also said he wishes Netflix would “stop acting irresponsible.”
“It’s just unbelievable that a company like Netflix that has the potential to send something positive out there is taking a route to rub a very destructive subject like this in people’s faces,” said the heartbroken dad. “There’s nothing positive about that.