‘13 Reasons Why’ is adding trigger warnings in response to public criticism

Screengrab via Netflix US Canada/YouTube

Netflix will add trigger warnings to ‘13 Reasons Why’ amid backlash

Netflix has been criticized for its lack of trigger warnings prior to the episodes that show graphic depictions of suicide.


Audrey Browning


Posted on May 1, 2017   Updated on May 24, 2021, 3:56 pm CDT

Netflix’s series 13 Reasons Why has garnered both praise and backlash for its discussion of heavy topics—like mental illness, suicide, and rape—and how it chose to portray them.

Netflix has been criticized the most for its lack of trigger warnings prior to the episodes that show graphic or possibly harmful content. According to BuzzFeed, Netflix plans to add additional trigger warnings to these episodes and link out to 13reasonswhy.info, a website with mental health and safety resources.

Trigger warnings are essentially just warning messages about abusive, graphic, or violent content within a conversation or form of media. The intention behind them is to forewarn potentially sensitive or vulnerable viewers—such as survivors of assault or people with PTSD—so they can either prepare themselves for the content or choose not to interact with it.

In April a fan wrote out trigger warnings for each of the heaviest episodes, illustrating the need for the Netflix to do the heavy lifting and take the added precaution.


Most episodes of 13 Reasons Why that contain these kinds of themes are preceded by a “graphic content” warning, and the entire series carries a TV-MA rating.

“While many of our members find the show to be a valuable driver for starting important conversation with their families, we have also heard concern from those who feel the series should carry additional advisories,” Netflix told BuzzFeed in a statement. “Moving forward, we will add an additional viewer warning card before the first episode as an extra precaution for those about to start the series and have also strengthened the messaging and resource language in the existing cards for episodes that contain graphic subject matter.”

The statement goes on to plug the URL 13reasonswhy.info, a website that gives crisis resources, according to the user’s country.

In April Dear White People, another Netflix series, took on a trigger warning after receiving backlash for supposed racial insensitivity.

Netflix also recently tweeted a sassy and insensitive response meme at Hulu in reference to 13 Reasons Why. It was the line “here’s your tape.” In the series, a character records cassette tapes for people she felt ultimately contributed to her death. She begins each recording with “here’s your tape.”

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*First Published: May 1, 2017, 3:38 pm CDT