Since it's premiere in 2017, 13 Reasons Why has been the subject of much controversy. The show was renewed for a second season, and writers took things a step further by including a graphic scene showing a horrific sexual assault.
The scene, which starred Devin Druid as Tyler Down, was difficult for viewers to watch. In it, Down was sodomized with a mop handle by Montgomery de la Cruz (Timothy Granaderos). Although the show's stars were aware of the storyline, some — like actress Anne Winters, who plays Chloe Rice on the show — said it was still difficult to watch, according to Radio Times.
"It was very graphic. I could barely watch it honestly," she said. "It was very disturbing. I could see how that provoked a lot of controversy to be honest."
"At the same time I love being on a show that has so much controversy because it's in everyone's line of conversation, and everyone's talking about it. I think that's great. But that was crazy: that scene is definitely one that I will not watch again."
Showrunners have gone to bat for the scene, defending it amid much backlash. Brian Yorkey, who created 13 Reasons Why, said in an interview with Vulture that while he understood why viewers would be uncomfortable with the scene, he felt it was important. Yorkey told the outlet he hoped it would start an important conversation.
"We're committed on this show to telling truthful stories about things that young people go through in as unflinching a way as we can," he said. "We fully understand that that means some of the scenes in the show will be difficult to watch."
"I think Netflix has helped provide viewers with lots of resources for understanding that this may not be the show for everybody, and also resources for people who do watch it and are troubled and need help," Yorkey added.0comments
He attributed fan reactions to the scene to "attaching shame to the experience." Yorkey told Vulture what happened on the show is real, and must be talked about.
"When we talk about something being 'disgusting' or hard to watch, often that means we are attaching shame to the experience. We would rather not be confronted with it. We would rather it stay out of our consciousness," he said. "This is why these kinds of assaults are underreported. This is why victims have a hard time seeking help. We believe that talking about it is so much better than silence."