The scene, which many are dubbing "horrifying", shows high school student Tyler Down get attacked by another student named Monty.
First, Monty assaults Tyler, before flushing his head in one of the toilet stalls. But it's the graphic scene in which Monty sexually assaults Tyler with a broomstick that has fans shocked and upset.
The backlash prompted the show's creator, Brian Yorkey, to reveal that scene was developed from research on real-life cases of sexual violence against men in high school.
“When we dug into that research, I think we were all astounded to find how many times this happened, this disturbingly similar story of a male high school athlete violating a weaker boy with some sort of instrument like a mop handle or a pool cue,” he told Vulture, adding that the decision to include the scene was made after extensive discussions with Netflix and Paramount.
"The fact is that, as intense as that scene is, and as strong as are or reactions to it may be, it doesn’t even come close to the pain experienced by the people who actually go through these things, he continued.
"When we talk about something being “disgusting” or hard to watch, often that means we are attaching shame to the experience. We would rather not be confronted with it. We would rather it stay out of our consciousness. This is why these kinds of assaults are underreported. This is why victims have a hard time seeking help. We believe that talking about it is so much better than silence."
The actor who plays Tyler on the show, Devin Druid also responded to fans with a tweet saying, "So heart breaking, yet so powerful. Loud,. inspirational voices. Let's further the conversation."
He also linked to a Reddit thread in which men openly discuss sexual assault.