Netflix says Lac-Megantic footage will be removed from 'Bird Box' movie

OTTAWA — After initially refusing, Netflix has agreed to remove images of the 2013 Lac-Megantic disaster from its blockbuster film, "Bird Box."

"Netflix and the filmmakers of 'Bird Box' have decided to replace the clip," a spokesman for the streaming company said in an email to The Canadian Press. "We're sorry for any pain caused to the Lac-Megantic community."

article continues below

People in the Quebec town and across the province were shocked after learning in January that footage from the derailment and explosion that killed 47 people was used in the drama starring Sandra Bullock.

Demands that the brief scene be removed came from politicians at all levels, including Lac-Megantic Mayor Julie Morin.

Morin said she is satisfied with Netflix's decision. "Yes, there was a delay, but I think in the end, what's more important for me, is that we have a solution to this situation we felt was important to settle," she said in an interview.

Quebec Culture Minister Nathalie Roy wrote to the company Jan. 18 calling for it to take out footage of the burning town. The company apologized and promised to do better, but until now it had refused to edit the film.

Three months later, Netflix has decided to change course.

Morin said the film industry needs to reconsider its use of stock footage. "I think it's important for the industry to reflect on this," she said in an interview. "It appears that has happened in this case."

In a written statement, Roy said "the gesture was long sought by Quebecers."

The House of Commons adopted a motion Jan. 29 demanding Netflix remove the images and compensate the town. The NDP's Pierre Nantel introduced the motion with the support of Conservative MP Luc Berthold. Nantel said Thursday that the incident shows it is time for streaming services to be subject to "our laws and the jurisdiction of the CRTC."

Federal Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez said he is pleased that Netflix has changed its tune.

"My heart goes out to the people of Lac-Megantic. I perfectly understand their dismay at the use of footage of the tragedy," he said in an emailed statement. "The company has taken the good decision by stepping back and removing this footage from its movie."

The Canadian Press learned that the footage will be removed from the film within the next two weeks.

Producers of the Netflix science fiction series "Travelers," which used footage of the derailment to depict a nuclear attack, agreed in January to remove it from the episode in question.

© Kamsack Times