As you know, 13 Reasons Why has been renewed for a second season, even though the Netflix series is incredibly controversial for its graphic portrayal of suicide.
Well, the father of a girl who took her own life immediately after watching the first season is railing against Netflix -- and against Selena Gomez.
His distress is understandable, but calling Selena Gomez "sick" and "disturbed" is ... well, that might be going a little too far.
Before we get into the father's controversial comments, here's a little very important background on why 13 Reasons Why is controversial.
There are graphic depictions of upsetting material like suicide and sexual assault.
Now, that doesn't mean that 13 Reasons Why necessarily glorifies suicide. Some feel that it does, others feel that it shows the damage done by taking your own life and the grief that it causes.
However, there are certain things to do and to not do when you're telling a story about suicide.
Namely, don't highlight the method for it. Don't provide step-by-step instructions on screen. Don't include graphic depictions of suicide or self-harm.
If you're thinking that you wouldn't see such things and suddenly feel the urge to follow in a suicidal character's footsteps, well, congratulations. I wouldn't either. I can also eat peanuts with impunity, but some people can't be in the room with peanuts or they'll literally die.
But people who do experience suicidal ideation and are plagued by thoughts of suicide -- because, folks, suicidal depression is an illness -- are vulnerable to these images and messages.
Parents and school officials have been alarmed by what they describe as an increase in self-harming behavior and suicide attempts -- and, in the saddest cases, successful suicides -- which they believe are directly related to 13 Reasons Why.
Selena Gomez is an executive producers of 13 Reasons Why. She's one of seven executive producers, which does not make her some sort of autocrat who controls the series, but she's definitely the most famous name attached to the show.
John Herndon is a father who discovered his 15-year-old daughter hanging in her closet after apparently having binged 13 Reasons Why. Though Bella was rushed to the hospital, she died 10 days later.
And Selena Gomez's famous name and famed compassion ... well, they're probably why John Herndon is calling her out in his statement to RadarOnline. And he's not mincing words, either.
"I'm still completely disgusted. Selena makes me sick."
Though we can only imagine Herndon's level of grief, that's a very strong statement.
"She is an extremely disturbed individual to think that this show has any kind of redeeming social value at all."
Clearly, she signed onto this project with the best of intentions.
Despite Herndon's anger, he shows that he understands what suicidal teens are experiencing. But not everyone does.
"Remember that there are teens out there that are in a little darker place and these could be your friends, your sisters."
And he worries that the intended messages in 13 Reasons Why might be misintepreted.
"Selena Gomez and Netflix need to understand that not everybody's going to understand this very well."
He goes on to explain exactly what can happen when someone struggling with suicidal depression witnesses a show that handles the subject this poorly.
"Some people who are battling with depression, this could catch them at the wrong time, creating what is called the trigger event."
For someone with PTSD, exposure to harmful content would be unpleasant or even awful. For someone with suicidal depression, it could be lethal.
Herndon talks about having written to Selena more than once ... on her website.
"I asked that she remove her support and get Netflix to stop," Herndon complains. "I received no response."
Well, yeah. Selena Gomez doesn't personally monitor her website. Honestly I forgot that she even has one. This isn't 1996. Also, in 1996, Selena was 4.
He's also calling out Netflix.
"They made those decisions to make themselves look like a socially responsible company yet they are making a product about people who are hurt and how they can hurt themselves."
We're sure that the intentions behind the series were just the opposite.
"I’ve seen too many posts by the creators who indignantly say it’s helped more people than it’s hurt."
Sometimes people double down instead of admitting that they're wrong. Perhaps this is one of those situations.
"How many people have to be hurt before somebody aside from me stands up and says, ‘You know, this is wrong.’"
Please remember, folks, that Selena Gomez's involvement does not amount to creative control. And that just because you send her a message does not mean that she's received it.
It also does not mean that she could somehow outvote her six fellow executive producers or seize the reigns of the series itself.
We have to imagine that part of the appeal for Selena was because she wanted a series that could help young people understand and deal with upsetting issues. And she may have, given her health struggles with Lupus, have been preoccupied with death itself.
We do think that the producers care about the series and the effect that it has. We don't -- can't -- know if 13 Reasons Why has actually claimed the lives of anyone, or if it only changed the time of their death or impacted the method.
All that we really know is that we're so sorry for John Herndon's loss. And that insulting Selena Gomez might get attention, but it's not the way to effect positive change.