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Father of teenager who died by suicide after watching ’13 Reasons Why’ plans to appeal decision in Netflix lawsuit

On the left, John and Bella Herndon will be seen dancing. On the best, the Netflix emblem is pictured.John Herndon, Creative Commons

  • Bella Herndon, 15, died by suicide in 2017 after she watched Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why.”

  • Her father’s lawsuit in opposition to Netflix, blaming the streaming large for the dying, was dismissed by a federal decide this week.

  • He instructed Insider that he plans to appeal the decision.

This week, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against Netflix introduced by a grieving father who mentioned the TV present “13 Reasons Why” was to blame for his 15-year-old daughter’s dying by suicide in April 2017.

But John Herndon of Livermore, California plans to appeal the decision, he mentioned throughout an interview with Insider.

“We disagree with the district court’s decision, and we do intend to appeal,” he mentioned. “We appreciate the district court’s consideration of the issue.”

Herndon has accused Netflix of utilizing subtle algorithms to “target highly vulnerable children,” together with his daughter Bella, and alleges that youngsters had been “directly manipulated” into watching harmful content material, court documents present.

Netflix disputes this, saying in courtroom filings that restrictions on programming would outcome in self-censorship.

‘This is a tragic case’

Bella Herndon

Bella Herndon is pictured at a Disney retailer.John Herndon

Bella Herndon was a 15-year-old woman who liked writing quick tales, studying voraciously about Greek mythology, and spending time along with her household and tight-knit group of mates.

“She was very intelligent, inquisitive, and very quick,” her father instructed Insider. “She and I were like best buddies.”

When Bella died by suicide in April 2017, he mentioned it got here “completely out of the blue” and was a “total surprise” to their household. Bella had been seeing a therapist who had suggested him that the whole lot was wanting “very well,” Herndon added.

It was solely on the day of her funeral, he mentioned, that he grew to become conscious that she had been watching Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” — a controversial teen drama that revolved across the suicide of the primary character Hannah Baker.

Bella’s college mates approached the late teenager’s father in the church and defined that she watched the present in her ultimate days. “I had no idea,” Herndon mentioned. “The kids were extremely open and honest about how they felt about it and how they believed that it affected Bella.”

The Herndon family

The Herndon household is pictured at a household gathering.John Herndon

Herndon concluded that Bella had died “as a result of the tortious acts and omissions of Netflix that caused, or at least substantially contributed to, her suicide,” in accordance to a class-action lawsuit filed in August.

But this week, a federal decide dismissed the lawsuit against Netflix, following a response filed by the streaming large in December, saying she based mostly her ruling on free-speech protections.

“This is a tragic case,” US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers mentioned on Tuesday, per The Hollywood Reporter. “But ultimately, I don’t think that it survives.”

Insider reached out to Netflix for remark however didn’t instantly obtain a response.

The present was accused of glorifying suicide

The teen drama, which ran for 4 seasons between 2017 and 2020, was accused by critics and mental health professionals of glorifying suicide.

“13 Reasons Why,” based mostly on a ebook of the identical identify, initially (and controversially) depicted a graphic three-minute suicide scene in the final episode of season one.

“The show, before Netflix modified the content, gave a very detailed walkthrough of how this girl went about committing suicide,” Herndon mentioned. “The way that she did it was particularly abhorrent to me as a father and as a reasonable person.”

In July 2019, Netflix edited the scene out.

“But it was too late — the damage had already been done,” Herndon instructed Insider. “All of the medical research that we’ve looked at so far has just pointed to the fact that this is not content that you would show to a young audience.”

A 2019 research discovered that teen suicides increased in the months after the present first aired.

John and Bella Herndon with sodas

John and Bella Herndon are pictured with sodas.John Herndon

Herndon maintains that what he alleges Netflix did is immoral. “As parents, we do everything, every single day, to teach our kids the difference between right and wrong,” he mentioned.

“I think this show, and there are others like it, are the complete antithesis to the moral rules and laws that we were all raised to understand,” he continued.

Bella’s father mentioned he would proceed to converse up about what occurred to his daughter in the hope of elevating consciousness concerning the risks of dangerous content material promoted to kids.

“All of this is to bring to the attention of the world that this kind of activity is something as parents and as a society that we need to address.”

Read the unique article on Insider

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