‘Bird Box’ Footage of Real-Life Tragedy Will Not be Removed
Netflix said on Thursday that it would not edit its movie “Bird Box” to remove footage of a disaster that killed 47 people in a Canadian town, rebuffing calls from town leaders who called the use of the video insensitive.
In 2013, a train carrying shale oil from North Dakota careened off its tracks in the middle of the night and exploded in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, destroying much of its downtown and killing dozens of residents. Amateur videos of the explosions circulated widely.
“You can’t imagine what those images represent for many people here in Lac-Mégantic,” said Marie-Claude Arguin, the town’s executive director. “It’s a reality that many worked really hard to try to forget.”
She said the town of 6,000 people still has a team of psychologists working to help residents who were traumatized by the disaster.
The footage came from a stock agency called Pond5, which has a library of over 14 million video clips including from military conflicts, natural disasters and fictional scenes. Jason Teichman, the agency’s chief executive, said the company also provided Lac-Mégantic footage to the Netflix series “Travelers.” Peacock Alley Entertainment, which produced the show, said in a statement that it did not know what the footage depicted when they bought it, and that they would replace it. But Netflix declined to explain why the footage would not be edited out of “Bird Box.”
When Pond5 obtains images or video, it verifies the origins and then provides guidance to their customers as to how to use it appropriately, Mr. Teichman said in an interview. The clip from Lac-Mégantic was tagged as footage of a newsworthy historical event, he said. Mr. Teichman apologized for how the footage was used and said the company would review its practices.
“All of us here feel awful that we didn’t do as much as we possibly could to make sure it was used appropriately,” he said.
The mayor said that town leaders learned from news outlets that the footage was in “Travelers” and subsequently a resident notified officials that it also was in “Bird Box,” an apocalyptic sci-fi thriller starring Sandra Bullock in which people mysteriously start committing suicide.
Early in the movie, Ms. Bullock turns on the TV as news anchors report on thousands of deaths by mass suicide around the world. Disaster scenes flash on the screen — including the explosive fires of Lac-Mégantic.
“I hate that it’s being used that way,” said Marie Morin, a resident of Quebec City who said she had many friends from Lac-Mégantic. “It’s such a tragic moment for so many people.”
“Bird Box” had already been making news with the so-called “Bird Box” Challenge, in which people perform various tasks blindfolded, like walking or shooting baskets. (In the movie, characters who go outside must wear blindfolds to stay alive.) But some people took the viral challenge to dangerous places, including driving.
Netflix used its Twitter account to warn people not to attempt the challenge in any way that might be dangerous, and on Tuesday, YouTube updated its policies to ban videos of challenges “with a perceived danger of serious physical injury.”
Sandra E. Garcia contributed reporting.
Source: Read Full Article