CONTENT WARNING: This piece discusses bullying and suicide. If you would like to talk to anyone about the issues raised in this piece, you can call the Kids Helpline (ages 5–25) on 1800 55 1800 or Headspace on 1800 650 890. If you are in distress, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

13 Reasons Why‘s highly anticipated second season continued the show’s trend of shocking viewers with violent RL themes involving suicide, rape and assault.

While critics have continued to slam the Netflix series for its graphic scenes, actors Devin Druid (Tyler) and Timothy Granaderos (Monty) have come to its defense in a new interview with Us Weekly.

“I think it would be kind of a shame if people weren’t reacting in the way that they are,” says Druid.

“The ending is really staying true to what our show has been about, which is taking these sensitive and difficult issues to talk about and bringing them to light in a mainstream and accessible show like ours, and doing that in the most honest and truthful way that we can.

Credit: Netflix

He went on to say that the show’s portrayal of sexual assault was meant as a teaching moment to spread awareness to viewers on the dangers of sexual violence.

“We really tackled the story of sexual assault in the first season as it is such a common issue. I think we were given an opportunity to tell a similar story and raise the awareness around male sexual assault as well, and we did it in a very truthful and honest way. You can find articles upon articles of kids younger than Tyler Down, ages raging from even 12 to 8 years old, of these things happening in schools.

I’ve seen people online saying that this is such an exaggerated story line, and it’s not. That’s the thing: People think that these things don’t happen, but they absolutely do, and we just want to bring the awareness to that and start a conversation about it. It’s OK for it to be a difficult thing to watch. If it’s hard to watch, it should be. But, you know, we need to start somewhere. We can’t stay silent on these issues.”

Druid also revealed that since the episode has aired, loads of fans have reached out to him to share their own experiences and how watching them play out on screen helped them deal with their issues.

“It really helps make them feel understood and to reach out and tell those stories,” he said.

And as for the controversial assault scene that’s made headlines across the world, Granaderos shared what went down on the “dark” day of filming.

“It was definitely tough that day. We’re surrounded by nurturing crew and cast and everyone involved. It’s not a comfortable thing to shoot as an actor. I know in between takes, Devin would go off and do his thing and I would go off and isolate myself. We respected our spaces as actors and creators to go off, go out there and do what we needed to do to tell the most honest story in that scene. And leaving set that day, I know I had a splitting headache just from being in that [place]. It’s not an easy place to go. It’s a dark place, on both sides.”

Credit: Netflix.

Image: Netflix