If you noticed a film crew in Southside Berkeley on Monday and wondered what was going on, we can confirm that the shoot was for “13 Reasons Why,” a show that has had its share of criticism, not least for its graphic depiction of issues such as suicide and rape.
A reader first tipped Berkeleyside on Twitter on Monday afternoon about a shoot on location on Warring Street, and wondered what the filming might be for.
It wasn’t long before others on Twitter chimed in with information that the crew was working on the Netflix show “13 Reasons Why.” A Cal student let us know that the crew was filming at a fraternity house, and shared an email from the casting company explaining that it was shooting “interior frat party scenes at SANDERSON UNIVERSITY” and that it would be portraying “college students at a frat party” that would be simulating “drinking and drinking games” with fake alcohol.
Berkeleyside checked in with Barbara Hillman, CEO of Visit Berkeley & Berkeley Film Office, who confirmed that the activity, which included at least one road closure, was Paramount Television filming for “13 Reasons Why.”
Twitter user @redhead_ryan_ also posted to Twitter about the filming.
“13 Reasons Why” is a teen drama developed for Netflix by Brian Yorkey, based on the 2007 novel 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, according to Wikipedia. The series revolves around a 17-year-old high school student and his deceased friend who kills herself after having to face a culture of gossip and sexual assault at her high school, and a lack of support from her friends and her school.
The show, which was first released in March 2017, is wildly popular but controversial. Mental health providers have accused its creators of glorifying suicide and spreading a message of hopelessness to struggling teenagers. These issues have been raised in Berkeley. In 2017 and 2018, Willard Middle School warned parents about the show and encouraged students not to watch it. Administrators said the program “had a negative effect on our students” and offered support from school counselors.
The series is known to shoot on location in Vallejo, Benicia, San Rafael, Crockett and Sebastopol. The series was renewed this month for a fourth and final season. In July, Netflix edited out the suicide scene in the first season’s final episode.