Fans of 13 Reasons Why know Bryce Walker, played by Justin Prentice, is a universally despised character. The school bully and co-captain of the Liberty High football and baseball teams, Bryce became Hannah Baker’s 12th reason for committing suicide after he raped her at a party at his home.
Justin Prentice, the actor who portrays Bryce, is nothing like his onscreen character, but has been the center of debate and backlash because of the show’s heavy subject matter.
Ahead of the show’s second season, Netflix commissioned a study from Northwestern University, examining how young people and adults reacted to the show, according to Buzzfeed, and they have begun releasing videos of the actors reading fan letters. In one video, Prentice is unable to hold back tears as he reads a letter from a sexual assault survivor.
“Dear Justin Prentice,” the letter begins. “I cannot put into words how grateful I am towards you and the entire cast of 13 Reasons Why. I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse…rape at 19 and he physically assaulted me, and a survivor of suicide attempts,” it continues, going on to detail how the show has affected her.
“You portray a person I’m terrified of, but you’re showing someone that needs to be put out there and talked about. Thanks again for saving my life,” the letter concludes, an emotional Prentice adding that “These are heroes. These are true people. These are people you should look up to and aspire to be like.”
Earlier this week, the streaming platform announced that heading into the show’s second season, a suicide warning video in front of episodes of the dramatic series, which faced criticism during its debut season for its depiction of suicide and traumatic experiences, will be included.
In the video, stars of the show speak directly to the audience and encourage them to seek help if they feel they have suicidal thoughts, and also suggest that they avoid watching the show if they feel the subject matter may be triggering for them.
The clip has already been added to the first season episodes and will also play before episodes of the upcoming second season.0comments
The debut season of the Netflix series was modeled after the young adult novel of the same name, which centered on high school student Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) and her classmate Clay listening to the 13 cassette tapes she recorded mapping out the events that led to her death by suicide.
As the company previously revealed, season two will explore the lives of Hannah’s classmates and how her actions affected them.