You can’t check your Facebook feed these days without being flooded with statuses about Bird Box — a Netflix thriller that’s quickly becoming a phenomenon. People are raving about the movie, but that praise may be short-lived. As it turns out, Netflix used footage of a real-life disaster in the film, igniting controversy and outrage. The ethically questionable clip comes in the beginning of the post-apocalyptic movie, during a newscast. It shows a 2013 train accident in Canada, where a train carrying crude oil suddenly overturned, resulting in the deaths of 47 people and a devastating fire in the Quebec town of Lac-Mégantic.
The mayor of Lac-Mégantic is among those offended by the footage, and has called for its immediate removal from the film. “I don’t know if this is happening all the time,” he told the Globe and Mail, “but we are looking for assurances from Netflix that…they are going to remove them.”
The footage also appeared in Travelers, another Netflix series, in which the burning town of Lac-Mégantic actually appeared in a fictional news coverage. Apparently, the production company, Peacock Alley Entertainment, purchased the video from a stock footage company, who told the BBC that its library includes both fictional, as well as “historical scenes of tragedies, military conflicts, weather events, and natural disasters.”
In an email to the Globe and Mail, Peacock Alley President Carrie Mudd said, “We are already working to replace the footage in the show [Travelers].” The Bird Box footage, however, is reportedly here to stay.