To Whom it May Concern,
Tonight was the winter finale of the Fox hit show Glee! It was a very emotionally charged hour of television, full of themes and issues that may be of particular interest to your younger viewers. In fact, this episode was full of themes that a lot of your younger viewers might have dealt with personally. Specifically, I’m thinking of the issue of teen suicide. Tonight on Glee a recurring guest character, Dave Karofsky, attempted to take his own life. This is a very sensitive issue to a lot of viewers, people who have dealt with the issue personally might even have had a hard time watching it. I know a lot of people on the website Tumblr had a very emotional reaction to this storyline. In fact, this is probably something that a lot of parents would want to watch with their children so they can explain what is going on to kids who are either too young to understand, or just, bless them and their good fortune, too new to the concept to understand.
For all these reasons, I am absolutely astonished that this episode did not have a trigger warning at the beginning. A couple of months ago you aired an episode that dealt with the theme of gay sex and characters losing their virginities. This episode was rated TV-14 and a parental guidance warning was put at the beginning. I understand why that happened. You are a conservative network and teen sex is considered an adult theme. However, what I don’t understand, is that if sex is considered an adult theme, how does suicide not also fall in that category?
So what I take from this is that gay sex (and I am focusing on the gay bit, because none of your episodes dealing with sex in the past have had similar warnings: i.e. Finn losing his virginity to Santana) is something that children need to be shielded from. It’s something parents need to sit there and explain. It’s something that has protesters in an uproar and it is something you as a network feel needs to be addressed as an important issue.
Gay suicide however? Kids can see that. They can work it out on their own. It will in no way be mentally or emotionally scarring. It will in no way hurt them. They don’t need adult guidance, they don’t need supervision. That is the message you are sending: That whether or not teenagers have sex is more important than whether or not teenagers end their lives.
I have sat here, and cried, and tried to justify your actions in my head. I’ve tried to ignore the feeling of getting punched in the chest, tried to avoid jumping to the conclusion that you don’t care.
You cannot write off this criticism and pat yourselves on the back just because you plugged the Trevor project. Yes, that was good. No, it was not good enough. It didn’t unring the bell. It didn’t change the fact that people had already been exposed to something harmful to them.
Take five minutes. Put trigger warnings on your episodes if they need trigger warnings. You have kids watching your shows and both they and their parents deserve to know what they are walking into.