‘A lack of respect’: Netflix hit ‘Bird Box’ used actual footage from disaster

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The mayor of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, says 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.

Footage of the 2013 runaway train disaster that killed 47 people and destroyed most of the small town’s downtown core appears in the Netflix film Bird Box and in an episode of the science fiction series Travelers, the BBC reports. The clips were used to illustrate news coverage of fictional disasters.

“We find that it’s really a lack of respect, to use these images as fiction and entertainment,” Mayor Julie Morin tells the Canadian Press. “It’s hard enough for our citizens to see these images when they are used normally and respectfully on the news.”

The footage shows fires after a train carrying more than 70 cars of crude oil derailed and exploded in the town on July 6, 2013. Producers say the footage was obtained from stock footage vendor Pond 5 and they “weren’t aware of its specific source.”

Pond 5 says it deeply regrets that images of the disaster were “taken out of context and used in entertainment programming.”

High school ethics teacher Guillaume Bouchard, who brought the use of the footage to public attention, says he was shocked when he recognized it. “I thought: No way. No way did they do that,” he says. Morin says she wants Netflix to remove the footage. “You can be sure we are going to follow up on this, and our citizens are on our side,” she says.

(Read more Lac-Megantic stories.)

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