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.”
— CP24 (@CP24) March 14, 2019
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.
— Montreal Gazette (@mtlgazette) March 15, 2019
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 initially apologized and promised to do better, but until now it had refused to edit the film.
Three months later, Netflix decided to change course.
Images of the 2013 Quebec rail tragedy are being replaced in the Sandra Bullock movie ‘Bird Box,’ Netflix has said, 2 months after being urged to take action. A spokesman tells CP the company regrets the pain caused to the Lac-Mégantic community. https://t.co/jIgUTPiZ4E
— CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) March 14, 2019
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.
Pierre Nantel, a legislator with the opposition New Democrat party who introduced the motion, said he cannot accept Netflix not removing the footage.
“We know people are going to go and watch this film, and again these real images will be used,” he said. “For people in Lac-Megantic, they saw images of their own downtown burning, and could imagine their own family members in it.”
The Canadian Press learned that the footage will be removed from the film within the next two weeks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.