This article contains spoilers and distressing content.
US parenting groups have called for the controversial teen drama 13 Reasons Why to be cancelled due to a plotline which features a graphic rape scene that drives the victim to attempt a school shooting.
The Parents Television Council has issued an "urgent warning" to American parents and schools about the programme and asked creators and distributors Netflix to pull both seasons of the show "because of the potentially harmful content".
The series was released on Netflix on Friday, the same day that 10 teenagers were killed in the Santa Fe school shooting. The LA premiere for the show was cancelled but the episodes were still made available that day.
The second season of 13 Reasons Why culminates in a rape scene where a bullied character, Tyler (played by Devin Druid) is sexually assaulted with a mop handle which is then shown covered in blood.
The victim is next seen walking into the school with an arsenal of firearms, and the final episode centres on other teenagers trying to prevent a school shooting whilst refusing to call the police.
Parents Television Council President Tim Winter said: "Netflix has delivered a ticking time bomb to teens and children who watch 13 Reasons Why.
The content and thematic elements of the second season are even worse than we expected.
We would have liked to have 13 reasons for hope and redemption following the graphic suicide of the lead female teen character, but rather than providing a path forward, the season only provides cause for despondency."
Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter two weeks before the Santa Fe shooting, showrunner Brian Yorkey said it was up to the audience to decide if the show managed to portray gun violence without glamourising it: "I think each viewer will have their own opinion about whether we found that balance, so I will leave that evaluation up to each individual viewer. For our part, we did as much research as we could."
"Unfortunately, there's a great deal of literature about a great number of troubled young men who resorted to or almost resorted to violence to act through their feelings. So we were able to study a great deal of the history there, and we tried to be authentic and honest and also accurate in our portrayal of the character. As with all things with the show, our hope was that we could honestly represent the experience; that our viewers might, through the experience, learn more and start more conversations about those issues in their own world."
The first season of the show, which was based on a young adult novel, centres on the events that led up to the suicide of 17-year-old Hannah Baker which was portrayed in extreme and even gory detail. It also featured several scenes of rape and sexual assault.
It was heavily criticised by teachers, parents' groups, The Samaritans and academics, who said it led to a spike in Google searches about how to commit suicide.
London-based child psychologist Dr Nicole Gehl said that she found the first series "really disturbing": "I started watching after I had 11-year-old patients talking about it and what I saw was a series that treats teenage suicide like a game.
"It is horrifying and feeds into stereotypes of suicide as a form of attention seeking, as a way of taking revenge, as something that is caused by the actions of others."
The new season was released last week with a mature content warning and a video of the actors urging younger viewers not to watch if they thought they might be might be upset by its "tough, real-world issues", or to watch the programme with an adult. The show also promotes rape and suicide crisis helplines.
WHERE TO GET HELP:
If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.
OR IF YOU NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ELSE:
• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757