Netflix used real-life disaster footage in Bird Box, and that’s not okay

Since its December release, the Netflix movie Bird Box has made all kinds of headlines. Unfortunately, not all of them are positive. The Sandra Bullock thriller inspired the dangerous blindfolded Bird Box challenge, which Netflix publicly warned viewers against attempting. And now, the movie is at the center of another controversy. According to Entertainment Weekly, Netflix is facing criticism for using footage of a real-life train accident in the film.

The clip reportedly shows up in a newscast toward the beginning of the movie. But while the apocalyptic events of Bird Box are fictional, the footage depicts a very real tragedy: a 2013 accident in the Canadian town of Lac-Mégantic. As the National Post notes, 47 people were killed in the disaster, which was caused when a train carrying crude oil overturned, causing a devastating fire in the Quebec town.

This isn’t the first time Netflix has used the footage. The sci-fi series Travelers also reportedly features a clip of the disaster. Understandably, those with ties to the tragedy are upset.

"I don’t know if this is happening all the time, but we are looking for assurances from Netflix that … they are going to remove them," Lac-Mégantic Mayor Julie Morin told the Canadian Press. "You can be sure we are going to follow up on this, and our citizens are on our side."

Twitter, as you may have guessed, is not here for the footage.

The Canadian Press reports that Peacock Alley Entertainment, which produces Travelers, stated they purchased the video from a stock footage company called Pond 5. “We sincerely apologize and had no intention to dishonour the tragic events of 2013,” Peacock Alley Entertainment President Carrie Mudd told the Canadian Press in an email. “We are already working to replace the footage in the show.”

But according to BBC News, the clip in Bird Box, which was also confirmed to be footage from Lac-Mégantic, will remain in the movie.

It’s unthinkable that Netflix would use video from a real disaster in a fictional movie. Bird Box may have been a hit, but this is not okay.

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