There is no shortage of commentary on controversial Netflix drama 13 Reasons Why, but one voice that’s been missing from the debate is that of its Executive Producer Selena Gomez.
The show has been panned by many for its graphic portrayal of teenage suicide, with some arguing it could act as an ‘instruction manual’ of sorts for at-risk teens, but Gomez has defended her “passion project”.
Far from romanticising suicide, the 24-year-old hopes her show will spur dialogue about something she says is "happening all the time".
"We stayed very true to the book and that's initially what Jay Asher created was a beautifully tragic, complicated yet suspenseful story and I think that's what we wanted to do," the actress told the Associate Press.
"We wanted to do it justice and, yeah, [the backlash is] gonna come no matter what. It's not an easy subject to talk about, but I'm very fortunate with how it's doing and I'm overwhelmed. I'm very proud of it."
13 Reasons Why is based on Asher's book of the same name (Th1rteen R3asons Why) and was adapted for television by Brian Yorkey.
LISTEN: Is 13 Reasons Why helpful or dangerous? (Post continues...)
Penned as "a mystery", it pieces together the alleged causes of high school student Hannah Baker's suicide, pegging responsibility on a number of individuals in her life, which some have criticised as a reductive approach to a complex issue.
Gomez was originally intended for the lead role in a film version of the story but took on the Executive Producer position when Netflix picked up the series in 2015.
If you, or a young person you know, is struggling with symptoms of mental illness please contact your local headspace centre here or chat to them online, here. If you are over the age of 25 and suffering from symptoms of mental illness please contact your local GP for a Mental Health Assessment Plan or call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.
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