Published: Fri, January 18, 2019
Culture&Arts | By Drew Collins

Netflix under fire for reportedly using real disaster footage in ‘Bird Box’

Netflix under fire for reportedly using real disaster footage in ‘Bird Box’

The mayor of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, said she was appalled to discover that footage of the most horrific day in her town's history was presented as fiction in two Netflix productions.

Forty-seven people were killed in the Lac-Mégantic, Québec rail disaster on July 6, 2013.

Even though Netflix wasn't depicting the train tragedy in Bird Box, Julie Morin, Lac-Mégantic's mayor, and members of the online community, have asked Netflix to delete the footage from the film. The real-life accident saw a train with 70+ cars of crude oil break apart, with the oil cars speeding downhill toward the town of Lac-Mégantic.

Early on in the hugely popular monster flick Bird Box, Sandra Bullock's character Malorie and her sister Jessica-played by Sarah Paulson-watch a few brief clips of the news.

The movie has not arrived without controversy, including how the streaming giant had to warn people not to do the "Bird Box challenge" involving potentially unsafe actions while blindfolded, and YouTube later banned videos to that effect.


"They've committed to reflecting with their partners on the use of these images so that the situation does not repeat itself".

Sandra Bullock in a scene from the Netflix film Bird Box. "You can be sure we are going to follow up on this, and our citizens are on our side", she said. Netflix had no comment.

It apologised, saying it did not mean to dishonour the tragic event in the town, and would be replacing the footage used in the show. They know for certain that the footage is shown in the latest season of Travelers.

However, Netflix has been less cooperative when it comes to removing the footage from Bird Box. The production company's president Carrie Mudd told the Canadian Press it got the imagery from stock footage supplier Pond5, whose spokesperson Tina Witoshkin told BuzzFeed News the footage "was taken out of context and used in entertainment programming".

Numerous participants uploaded their version of the Bird Box challenge to YouTube. "We've updated our external guidelines to make it clear that we prohibit challenges presenting a risk of serious danger or death, and pranks that make victims believe they're in serious physical danger, or cause children to experience severe emotional distress".

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