John Herndon and his wife, Donna, found their daughter, Bella, in the midst of a suicide attempt in their home on April 18, 2017. According to a report by Radar, the 15-year-old had hung herself in her closet. She was rushed to the hospital, but died 10 days later.
Herndon and his wife later discovered that Bella had watched 13 Reasons Why, a show criticized by some for dramatizing suicide in a way that might be confusing to younger people or anyone suffering from depression.
Now, the Livermore, California-based family is speaking out against the show, Netflix, and its executive producer, Selena Gomez, for the warning that will reportedly play before season 2. Herndon told reporters it is already "too late."
"It's like putting a Band-Aid on a broken leg," he went on. "It's not going to help.
Netflix announced the inclusion of the new warning earlier this month. It is reportedly the culmination of a study of the show, which found that "two-thirds of parents in our study asked to have the cast come out of character to discuss how to get support," and they also "want more guidance from mental health experts."
Herndon said that he finds it "disgusting" to see a show on this subject targeted toward a teenage audience.
"The whole point of them doing this was they wanted to raise awareness about teen suicide," fired Herndon. "The way they chose to do that was to showcase a young teenage girl being raped, being denied access to any adult's help, watching a girl be forced to watch her friends get raped, bullying at school, being constantly turned away by people she was close to – this is how they bring awareness to teen suicide?"
"Then they finish off by rewriting of the [book's] end to show a very graphic portrayal of suicide," he continued. "To market this show to teens is wrong."
Herndon disregarded the new warning, saying it won't "make any difference whatsoever." The fundamental flaws he sees in the show are too big to pivot away from.
"It's just unbelievable that a company like Netflix that has the potential to send something positive out there is taking a route to rub a very destructive subject like this in people's faces," said the heartbroken dad. "There's nothing positive about that."
Herndon also mentioned that he was interested in suing Selena Gomez and her mother for their contribution to the series, but that ultimately he didn't have the money or access to legal resources to do so. However, he did offer some tough advice for the young pop star, saying: "Selena, grow up."