Selena Gomez is standing by her Netflix show 13 Reasons Why amid claims that the breakout drama glamorizes teen suicide.
“I just wanted it to come across in a way that kids would be frightened, but confused — in a way that they would talk about it because it’s something that’s happening all the time,” Gomez, 24, told E! News, noting that she is “very surprised” at the success of the project.
The critically well-received show has been widely talked about since it first hit the streaming service in March. The series, about a deceased teenager and the thirteen tapes she left her classmates about her reasons for committing suicide, draws its plot from Jay Asher’s 2007 young adult novel of the same name.
The show features scenes of rape, alcoholism, drug abuse, body shaming and sexual assault. It also features a very graphic scene showing the main character Hannah (played by Katherine Langford) committing suicide. The National Association of School Psychologists has issued a warning against viewing the series to parents of “vulnerable youth.”
“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,” Gomez told the Associated 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.”
She added that she is “very proud” of the project.
Jackson, who revealed to Rolling Stone in January that she had attempted suicide “multiple times,” weighed in on the controversy in an Instagram post on Thursday, writing that the series is “an extremely triggering thing to watch.”
“[P]lease only watch this show with caution and keep in mind that it may put you in a dark place,” she wrote. “If you are struggling please don’t watch it. if you think you can handle it, please by all means check it out.”