Netflix Finally Removes Disaster Footage From Bird Box After Outrage

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Update, March 16, 2019: Netflix has said it will remove real disaster footage from Bird Box more than a month after it received a sharp rebuke from Canadian parliament for using it.
“Netflix and the filmmakers of Bird Box have decided to replace the clip,” the company said in a statement, per The Verge. “We’re sorry for any pain caused to the Lac-Mégantic community.”
Netflix will replace the footage of a 2013 Canadian train derailment that killed 47 people with an outtake from a former television series, AP reports. The new version of Bird Box will be available globally in several weeks.
Julie Morin, the mayor of Lac-Mégantic, the town where the derailment occurred, is pleased Netflix took action. “Yes, there was a delay, but in the end, the most important thing is that people came to the conclusion that the situation was significant enough to settle," she said to The Canadian Press.
Update, February 3, 2019: Canadian parliament has passed a motion demanding Netflix compensate the people of Lac-Mégantic, Québec after the streaming service said it will not remove the disaster footage from Bird Box.
Canadian MP Pierre Nantel, who introduced the motion, said, "For people in Lac-Mégantic, they saw images of their own downtown burning, and could imagine their own family members in it." The motion is non-binding, Vice reports, making it a public rebuke.
In response, Netflix has referred to the letter sent last week where it said it will not use footage of the disaster again, which came from stock image company Pond 5, but that it is unable to remove it from Bird Box. "This widespread use prevents us from making the changes you request on finished content," the letter read.
This story was originally published on January 17, 2019.
Just as soon as Netflix solved the problem of Bird Box viewers attempting the dangerous #BirdBoxChallenge, the company has hit another snag. CBC News reports that the streaming company has been accused of using footage from a real 2013 disaster in both the viral horror film and the science fiction series, Travelers.
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In 2013, a runaway train derailed in Lac-Mégantic, Québec, causing an oil spill that turned into a fire, destroying a portion of the town and killing 47 people. High school ethics teacher Guillaume Bouchard first noticed the footage being used in place of a fictional explosion in London in Travelers, CBC reports, and now other viewers have spotted what appears to be the same footage used on a fictional news TV report in Bird Box.
"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 CBC. "You can be sure we are going to follow up on this, and our citizens are on our side."
The footage was acquired through a New York City-based stock footage company called Pond 5, but Peacock Alley Entertainment, which produced Travelers, was apparently not aware of the clip's origins when the company used it in the series.
When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Pond 5 said, "We are saddened by this incident and are taking additional steps to correct the situation. We are contacting all customers who have purchased any related clips to ensure they are aware of the sensitive nature of this footage. Additionally, we’re proactively re-auditing content of this nature, while continuing to improve our guidance for usage."
While Netflix confirmed to CBC that the footage will be removed from Travelers, the company claimed it had yet to confirm if the footage used in Bird Box was indeed from the same tragic, real-life event. Netflix has yet to return Refinery29's request for comment.
This post has been updated with additional reporting.
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