Controversy, Entertainment, Footage, Netflix, Train Derailment

Netflix apologizes for controversial stock footage used in ‘Bird Box’

Nearly three months afters its streaming debut, Bird Box is getting an edit.

Following public backlash, Netflix has confirmed to Mashable that it will re-release Bird Box in the “next few weeks” — this time without the use of a controversial clip. 

The new version of Bird Box will remove stock footage used in one of the film’s establishing apocalypse sequences, the contents of which depict the very real aftermath of the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster. The tragedy killed 47 people and destroyed much of the town. 

“Netflix and the filmmakers of Bird Box have decided to replace the clip,” a Netflix spokesperson told Mashable. “We’re sorry for any pain caused to the Lac-Mégantic community.”

Netflix initially declined to alter the film, but Canadian advocates for the update — including Lac-Mégantic mayor Julie Morin — promised to persist. 

“You can be sure we are going to follow up on this, and our citizens are on our side,” Morin told The Globe and Mail during an interview in early January.

Later that month, Canadian Parliament issued a non-binding motion that denounced Netflix’s use of the footage and encouraged the streaming service to financially compensate the town. While the motion could not legally obligate Netflix to take action, it added to growing public pressure. 

“This gesture was expected out of respect for the victims of this horrible tragedy, their loved ones and the entire Lac-Mégantic community,” Quebec’s Minister of Culture and Communications Nathalie Roy said in reaction to the re-release.

“This result shows that by being united and pooling our efforts, anything is possible.”

As streamers wait for the update to appear, the original version of Bird Box will stay available. Notably, Bird Box remains one of the most reportedly successful projects in the company’s history.

Sage Anderson contributed to this article, translating Roy’s statement from French to English.

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