’13 Reasons Why’ Showrunner Defends Sexual Assault Scene: ‘It Was Worth Telling’

“We know that sexual assault is hugely underreported,” Brian Yorkey says

“13 Reasons Why”showrunner Brian Yorkey is explaining the thought process behind the disturbing sexual assault scene in Season 2 of the Netflix show, and he said it came down to research.

“We delved into research and found story after story of cases like this — upsettingly similar stories of male high school athletes violating weaker kids with mop handles or pool cues,” he told Entertainment Weekly on Tuesday. “The number of stories we found about it were astounding and those are just the ones that got reported, and we know that sexual assault is hugely underreported.”

Season 2 was released on Netflix on Friday and many viewers voiced concern over a scene in which Tyler (Devin Druid) is violently sexually assaulted by Monty (Timothy Granaderos) with a mop handle. Yorkey said that he and the team behind the show are “interested in continuing the conversation around sexual assault in high school.”

He added that the assault, though disturbing to see on screen, “made sense for these characters.” Tyler “moves in positive social directions and then he has setbacks, which I think is the experience that so many kids have,” he said.

“When you’re a kid without a lot of resilience, like Tyler, those setbacks can be devastating,” Yorkey continued. “After the intervention, we wanted to see Tyler really trying to make positive choices, but to have those choices derailed in some way by Monty or Bryce. We realized that Bryce would break with Monty and that Monty obviously is really, really deeply attached to Bryce and so that loss would be devastating to him and Monty would act out.”

“So we took a deep breath and we all talked it over and decided it was worth telling even though we knew it would be hard to do and hard to watch,” he said.

You can read Yorkey’s full interview with EW here.

“13 Reasons Why” Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix.