Netflix is being sued by the grieving father of a teenager who allege that the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why inspired their daughter’s suicide. Netflix counters that the suit infringes on its freedom of speech, arguing that its algorithmic content recommendation is protected by the First Amendment.
The streaming service has filed a motion to strike down the lawsuit by invoking California’s anti-SLAPP statute, which permits the dismissal of complaints that infringe upon protected speech. The lawsuit, Herndon v. Netflix, was filed in California’s Santa Clara County Superior Court earlier this year.
The plaintiffs in the case are John Herndon, his sons, and the estate of Herndon’s daughter, Isabella, whose suicide was allegedly precipitated by watching 13 Reasons Why. They allege that vulnerable viewers were not adequately shielded from or warned about the show’s highly graphic and suggestive content. The lawsuit points to “Netflix’s failure to adequately warn of its Show’s, i.e. its product’s, dangerous features.”