Even if you haven’t watched all of 13 Reasons Why yet, by now you’ve heard about the controversy the Netflix series (produced by Selena Gomez) is causing with its portrayal of teen suicide. Although she didn’t come right out and directly address it, at a recent event, Gomez explained why she wanted to make 13 Reasons Why despite its sensitive content. And if you have concerns that 13 Reasons Why glamorizes teen suicide, Gomez’s words provide some insight into why she championed this project nonetheless.

As the host of WE Day, which is a “celebration of youth making a difference in their local and global communities” organized by the charity WE, Gomez spoke to E! News. When Gomez was asked about 13 Reasons Why, she spoke about the show’s success — but also why she created it.

“I’m a little overwhelmed and very surprised,” she said of the show’s incredible success. “I mean I believed in the project for so long and I understood what the message was.”

She continued:

Her comments acknowledge that the material is difficult to watch, considering the entire premise is that the character Hannah has already killed herself before the series begins. But Selena thought the topic of teen suicide was important enough to be portrayed on-screen — even in a graphic way.

So despite some backlash, Gomez is standing by her passion project as the world continues to be impacted by the powerful series.