A Christian group and the parents of a 14-year-old girl from Alabama are demanding that Netflix cancels the drama series "13 Reasons Why" on Netflix following the teenager's suicide. Joseph and Patrice Bright, who lost their daughter Anna, believe that the show contributed to her decision to take her life.
It will be a year since Anna's death, but the pain remains for the Bright family. They approached the American Family Association (AFA) to help get their message across Netflix, which has over 100 million subscribers, as the streaming platform is set to premiere the show's second season in the coming weeks.
"To portray suicide first of all as an option is not a good thing," Patrice said in the video that the AFA released. "To portray it graphically where you can actually see and get that image in your head, it leaves you vulnerable to the enemy's attack, which I think it definitely did for our daughter," she went on to say.
The parents detailed how much the story of "13 Reasons Why" shared similarities with Anna's struggle. In the series, Hannah, the main character, left recorded tapes to the people who bullied her that drove her to commit suicide. Anna, on the other hand, wrote seven letters addressed to specific people.
Both teenage girls also ended their lives in the bathtub, but while Hannah slit her wrist, Anna shot herself in the head. Hannah, however, is a fictional character, while Anna and her struggles were real and actually devastating for her loved ones.
Anna's dad, a former pastor, revealed that despite being raised in a God-centered house, she could not escape the dark battle inside her. Joseph and Patrice had no clue of what Anna was going through as she hid her problems well and performed excellently at school as a scholar. She was also a beauty queen, a gifted musician, and a cheerleader.
The teenager apparently told her friends she would take her life, but no one looked into the matter seriously. The parents believed that the Netflix series normalized and desensitized the act of suicide.
Last March, the AFA wrote Netflix CEO Reid Hastings a letter on behalf of the Brights to pull down "13 Reasons Why" from their library. AFA's president Tim Wildmon also requested a meeting with Hastings to discuss how Netflix can improve its programming. Hastings has yet to respond to the letter.
The AFA also indicated that Anna was not the only teenager emboldened to commit suicide after watching the series. The Christian group's letter read: "Bella Herndon and Priscilla Chiu, both 15-year-olds from California, also took their own lives just days after watching Hannah Baker kill herself."
The group gathered over 50,000 signatures asking Netflix to drop the show, cancel the second season's premiere and remove the first season from the streaming platform.