The Netflix sensation '13 Reasons Why' released March 31, 2017, and has garnered nearly unprecedented attention for the platform. The dramatic mystery based on the young adult book of the same name follows the story of Hannah Baker, a high school junior who decided to take her own life. Her story is explored through 13 tapes she left behind, each one citing the actions of one of her peers as a reason for her decision.
The ethical reviews have been mixed. Some people think the show is shedding light on an important conversation surrounding bullying, sexual assault and suicide, topics the show does not shy away from. Some people think the show is too triggering for those who have experienced similar situations, and criticize the graphic depictions of such events. Some think it's glamorizing teen suicide. In an attempt to ensure the public knows that the producers and the cast take the topic seriously, Netflix created an episode called '13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons' in which those behind the project discuss bullying, depression and sexual assault alongside mental health professionals. This project has some big names behind it - Selena Gomez is an executive producer.
But does everyone on the cast understand the implications of making light of suicide? It seems not.
Actor Brandon Flynn, who plays Justin Foley in the series, has some disturbing images of himself mimicking a gun in his mouth on his Instagram. Granted these images are old, dating back to 2015 and 2012, but the comments on the images are new because viewers are relating them directly to the new hit show. One thing's for sure - this isn't a good look for someone who just gained an enormous amount of social media followers due to a project featuring cyber bullying and suicide.
What do you think? Should Flynn remove the images from his Instagram and issue an apology? Does he have a responsibility to address that the images were in poor taste, or defend them if he thinks they weren't?
If you or anyone you know are experiencing thoughts of suicide or self harm please visit 13ReasonsWhy.info for resources and information.