What is the meaning of the semicolon tattoo? Will there be a 13 Reasons Why Season 5? Why is the show so controversial? We answer these and more questions about one of the most drama-filled teen shows on TV today.

Meaning of the semicolon tattoo

The tattoo refers to Project Semicolon – a non-profit organisation represented by a semicolon. The project aims to prevent suicide and draw attention to mental health issues.

Amy Bleuel, founder of Project Semicolon, writes: “A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to.”

LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 01: Alisha Boe, Katherine Langford, Derek Luke, Dylan Minnette and Miles Heizer attend #NETFLIXFYSEE Event For “13 Reasons Why” Season 2 at Netflix FYSEE At Raleigh Studios on June 1, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)

Many cast members such as Tommy Dorfman, Alisha Boe and Selena Gomez, the executive producer, got the semicolon tattoo to show their support for the organisation.

What is 13 Reasons Why about?

The show is based on the book of the same name, by Jay Asher. It revolves around the suicide of Hannah Baker after having to dea with bullying, loneliness and rape.

Before her suicide, she created and released 13 tapes for people who were associated with her death. Clay, her love interest, receives the tapes after her death and has to piece together what happened and deal with the consequences. The show has four seasons, running from 2017 to 2020.

13 Reasons Why controversies

The show has been linked with controversy since it first aired in 2017. These are the moments that caused the most uproar:

BANGKOK, THAILAND – 2018/07/06: In this photo illustration, the logo ’13 Reasons Why’ from the Netflix TV serie seen displayed on a Sony smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Guillaume Payen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Hannah’s suicide

The central part of series one received numerous complaints. Hannah’s suicide scene was aired for three minutes, showing her slitting her wrists in the bathtub.

The scene was so graphic many viewers feared it would trigger troubled teens. The scene was eventually altered two years later, but some felt it was too late.

Bryce: the serial rapist

Bryce raped multiple women throughout the show. He raped Jessica at a party when she was drunk. She seemingly had no recollection of the event until she received a tape from Hannah about the latter’s guilt for not intervening.


He raped Hannah in his hot tub at a party in season one. The rape was so brutal Hannah decided at that point she wanted to commit suicide.

In season three, it is revealed he even raped his girlfriend, Chloe.

The most controversial aspect of these scenes was the fact Bryce was never reprimanded for his actions. Sure, he is killed in season three but he was able to rape three women in awful ways and learn barely anything about consent.

Potential school shooting

In season four, the episode Thursday featured talks on a plan to have a shooting at Liberty High School. The school is placed on a Code Red lock-down over fears a shooter is on campus.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Each character is made to believe they won’t make it to the next day, which is worsened by the sound of shots in the background. Jessica even calls her family to say goodbye.

Clay decides to put his life at risk and ends up having a panic attack when the SWAT team arrives. Although the event is shown to be a drill, it affected the mental well-being of many viewers. It mirrored the real school shootings across the US.

Is there a plan for Season 5?

No! But from the controversies above, that was expected. More practically, Netflix said season four ends with the cast graduating, so it is a “natural conclusion to the show”. Showrunner Brian Yorkey added that as high school is four years, the show was expected to run for four seasons.

Regardless of people’s views on the show, it rarely failed to generate conversation on topics it covered. Conversation is so important. It has the power to combat loneliness, which Hannah Baker desperately craved before her sad end.

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