A federal judge has ruled in favor of Netflix after a lawsuit was filed after a girl took her own life after watching “13 Reasons Why”.
The lawsuit was filed last summer by John Herndon, the father of the teenage girl who passed away in April 2017.
According to the New York Post and court documents, the lawsuit claims that Bella Herndon “died as a result of the tortious acts and omissions of Netflix that caused, or at least substantially contributed to” her suicide. On Tuesday, US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled in favor of Netflix, citing the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
Bella Herndon and Priscilla Chui were two 15 year old girls who took their own lives after watching the first season of the Netflix series. Their families both spoke out in 2017.
Herndon said at the time, “Don’t go through with the renewal for the second season of ‘13 Reasons Why’. Stop this. This is wrong. You’re making money off the misery of others.” The first season ends with a three minute long scene in which the main character, 17-year-old Hannah Baker, ends her life.
The show is based off of a best-selling book where Baker leaves behind 13 tapes as clues to her suicide, and to who she blames for leading her to end her life. The show concluded after four seasons and drew high ratings from its young viewers, but angered some parents. The show has become part of the growing discussions on mental health, especially with teenagers.
In the motion to dismiss the case in December 2021, Netflix’s defense stated, “Creators obligated to shield certain viewers from expressive works depicting suicide would inevitably censor themselves to avoid the threat of liability.”
ARTICLE: JILLIAN WEIDNER
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: LOWELAW.COM