13 Reasons Why Star Ross Butler on “Welcome to Your Tape” Memes, Backlash and Season 2
It’s been about a month since 13 Reasons Why dropped on Netflix and took the world by storm. The show, which follows the story of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) and why she committed suicide, has become the most tweeted show of 2017 (11 million tweets since March 30), think pieces, received rave reviews and sparked memes—”Welcome to your tape.”
Langford’s Hannah left 13 tapes, her 13 reasons why she committed suicide, for people she felt contributed to her decision. She introduced the tape about people or happenings with “Welcome to your tape,” which has now swept the Internet.
Ross Butler, Zach on the Netflix series, said the memes shouldn’t be what viewers take away from the series.
“Honestly…We’re so proud of Netflix for making this show for everybody,” Butler told E! News’ Erin Lim. “It’s such a great message that…the meme, I don’t think that’s the focus here. I think the focus is the message we’re trying to say.”
Butler said he knew the show would accomplish what it set out to do early on, but that he never expected it to be as huge as it is.
“I would say when I met everybody on the cast and when I met, in person, [executive producers Brian Yorkey and Selena Gomez] and everybody involved because—and Tom McCarthy—all these people put together—it’s like you can’t not come up with something great and the message is great,” he said. “I wouldn’t say from day one, but day three when I met everybody… It depends what you mean by success. I knew that it was going to reach people because it was so real and gritty that it would definitely start conversations and do what we set out to do. To be like this huge hit, I wasn’t completely expecting.”
But all the success doesn’t come without some backlash. Australia’s National Youth Mental Health Foundation, headspace, said the show received a growing number of calls since the show debuted and Dan Reidenberg, the executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, told ABC News the show could “do more harm than good” because it doesn’t present “a viable alternative to suicide.” The series depicts Hannah’s suicide, she slits her wrists in the bathtub, in full.
Butler told E! News “the way we approached it is exactly the way it needed to be told.”
Click play on the video above to hear more about 13 Reasons Why.
13 Reasons Why is now streaming on Netflix.