Netflix rejects request to remove Lac-Megantic images from ‘Bird Box’

MONTREAL — Netflix is refusing to remove from its hit movie “Bird Box” footage of the rail explosion that killed 47 people in Lac-Megantic, despite an appeal from the town’s mayor.

But the streaming company has said it will ensure no future productions on its platform use images of the disaster for entertainment, according to Lac-Megantic Mayor Julie Morin, who spoke to a Netflix representative Thursday.

Morin said in a statement she is satisfied that Netflix has “committed to reflect with their partners on the use of images so that this situation is not repeated.” She said she “sensed a sensitivity to the recovery of our citizens.”

Lac-Megantic spokeswoman Karine Dube said the Netflix representative called the mayor unsolicited Thursday morning and told her the company would not be removing the images from “Bird Box.”

At least two dramas currently on Netflix’s Canadian platform, including “Bird Box,” briefly use actual footage of the 2013 derailment. Morin told The Canadian Press Tuesday that she wanted the company to review its catalogue and remove the images. She said use of the videos showed a lack of respect and had upset residents, many of whom are suffering post-traumatic stress.

The company that sold the stock footage of Lac-Megantic for “Bird Box” another Netflix production, “Travelers,” says it is saddened the images were used for entertainment.

In a statement released Thursday, Pond5 said the footage of the disaster was taken out of context and used in entertainment programming. “We deeply regret that this happened and sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended, especially the victims and their families.”

The New York-based company added it is contacting customers who have “purchased any related clips to ensure they are aware of the sensitive nature of this footage.”

Netflix spokespeople have declined all requests for comment on the controversy.

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