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Mother wants apology from “Zero Dark Thirty” director for using son’s last words on 9/11 without permission

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“Zero Dark Thirty” may have won an Oscar for sound editing, but if producers had consulted with Mary Fetchet, chilling moments at the beginning of the film  would have been edited out.

Fetchet, whose 24-year-old son Brad was killed in the Sept. 11 attacks, said she wasn’t home when he called her from the 89th floor of the south tower, and his last words recorded in a phone message to her were used in the movie without the family’s permission.


“We were shocked because we were never contacted by the producer,” Fetchet said.  “I guarantee if they had approached us in advance of the film to use Brad’s recording, it would have been an absolute no.   And so, to take that decision making process away from me and my family, it’s a violation.”

Brad Fetchet

Brad Fetchet was killed in the south tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

The movie about the manhunt for Osama Bin Laden, opens with a black screen over a montage of the voices of 9/11 victims making their heartrending phone calls.

A representative from Sony Pictures Entertainment which distributed the film issued a statement which reads in part:

“…filmmakers, beginning before the film’s release, initiated contact with a number of family members of the victims of the 9/11 attacks, including some whose voices can be heard on publicly released tapes.  We hope that Zero Dark Thirty is, in some small way, a tribute to those forever affected by the events of 9/11…”

Mary Fetchet asked Sony for a donation to the organization she founded, Voices of September 11th, for using her son’s recording.  She has yet to receive one.

She also wants an apology for the film’s director, Kathryn Bigelow.

“I want the movie industry to learn from it,” Fetchet said.  “I am going to take every step I can to make sure this doesn’t happen to the families of Newtown.”


  • e.payne

    im sorry but what were his last words and couldnt those have been anyones last words if ;they wqere in that situation…i kno the most used last words are" tell_____ that i love them or him or her" so i dont get it

  • KAzz

    I want a million dollars doesn't mean I;m going to get it.

    How about instead if a apology and a 'donation' how about she go say thank you to the men and women who did the re con and final shot that took out the man responsible for her son's death.

    • SAra

      Cold. This family has the right to protect the last memory of their son. And the movie industry doesn't get a free ride just because the movie is popular.

  • Shahahara

    I think the thing is someone should have asked, Look, we are going to use this. Instead of watching a film and listening to it and saying "Wait, that is my SON!" I can see where she is coming from. If anyone has ever had either a video of a loved one dying, wether it is auto or video, should be consulted first.

  • Russell-OKC

    She's nutty as a fruitcake. She's owed nothing as far as I can tell and now she is demanding an apology and money. I bet her son would be proud knowing he was part of this great movie. I'm just not sure I see where she's coming from.

  • guest

    I can understand the shock of hearing her son's voice in the movie but I think it is ridiculous for her to ask for money I agree she should be grateful to those men and women who have sacrificed themselves to avenge the wrong done on 9/11 She isnt the only one who has lost a loved one due to this and yes I have every right to say this My husband was military. I hope she finds peace and forgiveness

    • sAra

      You people are really cold. You hope SHE finds forgiveness? After they've already grossed $91,539,075–91 million dollars? Did you think this was a non profit movie venture? Rearrange your thoughts–the movie was made to make money, nothing else, and they used her copyrighted material without permission to do it. So of course she should get something–her sons recorded words are precious to her.

  • lola_p

    i can understand why she may be upset. those were her sons last words… meant for her… why should she HAVE to share that with everyone.. or anyone. that was something near and dear to her. they should have asked and respected her answer.

    • Guest

      I completely understand why she's upset – BUT, how was this recording made public? How did they obtain it? Did she release it at one point in time? If so, then she did share it and now she's looking for compensation.

      • lauren

        some work places often record all phone calls.. so could have been obtained that way. if he called from his cell phone, then yes, obv her or someone in the family shared it in some way. still, she should have been asked before it was used.

  • Elsie

    It is a legitimate legal issue and the mother is in the right. Sony usurped the "image" of the person without permission and they do not have the right to do that…not even if the recording had been publicly available. Sony does not have the right to MAKE MONEY off the recording of a murder victim without the consent of the family no matter how they obtained the recording, period.

    • Imbizetbizet

      Whether you think they should be able to use it or not is immaterial to the law which in most states allows video of you to be used without your permission. This is why most lawsuits against Girls Gone Wild were dismissed and only a couple of them, in states that required the permission of the person filmed, resulted in judgements. Just because you think something is wrong does not mean it is illegal. Just because it is illegal in one state/instance does not mean it is illegal in all.

  • Kevin Anderson

    So to be clear, we're ok with Sony making a few hundred million on the movie, with her sons words contributing. ( Not to mention the embellishment of torture that didn't actually do anything ),

    But when she says she was never contacted and wouldn't have given her permission, we call her out for a cash grab?

    She asked for the money to go to a charity organisation. Does anyone think Sony's money is going to a charity?


    Also, they said they asked permission, or "tried" to. What, you didn't manage to get to everyone? It's not that hard. They didn't try.

  • rcbsusr01

    Not to be a naysayer but it seems to me that 911 recordings are public domain, available to anyone through the Freedom of Information Act.

    It may be distressing for the families for those recordings to have been used, and it would have been more gracious if Sony had approached the families to at least hear their wishes but it does not seem to me that this should be a legally actionable event

    • FOIA

      How does one's private, personal phone call become subject to the Freedom of Information Act? Please explain.

  • keepalowprofile

    I wonder if I will be named in the suit.

    Brad Fetchet's last words.

    “Hey Mom. I’m sure you’ve heard a plane crashed into World Trade Center One. I’m obviously alive and well but obviously pretty scared.

    Saw a guy fall out of probably the 91st storey all the way down. You’re welcome to give a call. Love you.”

    They are already public so not much chance of getting paid.

  • skyy

    Yep. This idea of stopping something over a complaint began with the boomer-hippies in the 80s. This became quite populate because the boomer-hippies are easily offended and whine at every chance that they get and when they're unhappy, they expect the world to please them, instead of themselves changing. In this case, she thinks its "about her" and now wants an apology. Wah, wah, wah.

  • Lindsey

    It's the point that they used something from her deceased son to show millions, something that was meant to be personal to her. It doesn't make her greedy, she's probably hurt and saddened by it. Jesus, give her a break.

  • wondering

    It was her son's voice? How would they have gotten a copy of the recording if he left it on their home machine?

  • Mac

    Here is another case of greed by someone idiot. The lady's arguement is that she believes she hear her son's last words being spoken in a film. Unfortunately, in reality common words can be put together and if they should happen to match something you or someone you love says, oh well since they are common to all for use. Unless they are grouped into a long grouping like a report or story, htey can not be sigled out everytime someone says them. Htis is anotherunfortunately case of someone using a great tragic event for their personal gain,I could see if she just wanted an apology and that was it or even want them to change that part of the film, but this woman wants them to "donate" to her charity, which might be in rough standings.

  • S Clark

    Good luck to this grieving mother. I wouldn't hold your breath though….This movie shouldn't have been made and No I'm not a terrorist loving wacko. It simply lowers us to their level. We are the same as the are by glorifying death. I also think it's an insult to Geronimo to have used his name like that. I have relatives in the armed forces and I am proud of what they do but that doesn't mean we should crow about it.

  • Guest

    You people have no respect for those who lost loved ones and if it had been you I am pretty sure the last thing you want to be greeted with at the beginning of this movie is those voices, it affeced meany people who went to see it and were not expecting to hear actual audio of last phone calls. Seriously what is wrong with you people. WHO CARES, that you think this is a tribute to the fallen, that was nervy of the director to do that without asking permission plain and simple. And who even knows if it went down the way it was unrealistically depicted. All to glorify Obama. Funny thing is we never saw the actual body. So enough of patting this idiot on the back.

  • CJay

    Fuck off, she's clearly using this as an excuse to make some cash. I hope Sony don't give in to her bullshit and stand their ground.

    • Amy

      How is she making cash? She is asking that a charitable donation be made and an apology issued for not asking her permission.

  • TaxPayer08

    the comment on the article says it all…."including some whose voices can be heard on publicly released tapes"….sure it hurts to hear his voice….another publicity stunt to make sure that her "foundation" makes news and that she is made to be the victim….CJay…you are absolutely 100 percent correct…Sony Pictures, the director, anyone associated with the film should tell her to eat crap…..

  • Mike Johnson

    Oh shut up mom! We all have a right to know what his last words were. Jesus Christ, you and the Navy Seal father can just go to Hell already, alright?!!

Comments are closed.