On Tuesday, Selena Gomez excitedly announced that she was done shooting the second season of her popular Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why.” But for one father, the wrap wasn’t exciting news at all—it was a painful reminder that his daughter committed suicide shortly after she binge-watched the show’s first season last April.
In an interview with RadarOnline, John Herndon, a dad from California whose 15-year-old daughter, Bella, hung herself in her closet after watching “13 Reasons Why,” slammed the 25-year-old singer and Netflix for glamorizing suicide and leading to his child’s death.
“I’m still completely disgusted,” Herndon said. “Selena makes me sick. She is an extremely disturbed individual to think that this show has any kind of redeeming social value at all.”
Herndon told the outlet that his wife, Donna, found their daughter hanging in her closet on April 18, 2017. She was immediately rushed to the hospital, and died 10 days later. After his daughter’s funeral, Herndon discovered that she had binge-watched “13 Reasons Why” shortly before her death.
Since then, Herndon has been on a mission to stop production on the series, which centers on a high school student who commits suicide and sends tapes to people who led to her death, and force its creators (including Gomez, who serves as executive producers) to take accountability. Herndon believes that the show triggered his daughter, who was battling depression, to commit suicide.
“Remember that there are teens out there that are in a little darker place and these could be your friends, your sisters,” Herndon said. “Selena Gomez and Netflix need to understand that not everybody’s going to understand this very well. Some people who are battling with depression, this could catch them at the wrong time, creating what is called the trigger event.”
After repeated efforts to reach out to Gomez and her team to ask them to remove their support of the series and demand Netflix to end production, Herndon claims that he received “no response.” Due to financial setbacks, Herndon does not have any current plans to sue Gomez or Netflix, though he claims he would do it “in a heartbeat” if he did have the resources.
“Suing a billion-dollar company like Netflix is not within my means right now unless there are other like-minded individuals that want to engage collectively together to bring a suit against them,” Herndon said.
Right now, he’s focused on raising awareness that the series, which has been touted for opening up discussions about mental health and suicide, has a negative effect on many families. “I’ve seen too many posts by the creators who indignantly say it’s helped more people than it’s hurt,” Herndon said. “How many people have to be hurt before somebody aside from me stands up and says, ‘You know, this is wrong.’”