After two months of public outcry, Netflix on Thursday agreed to remove and replace a scene from its film “Bird Box” that included footage from a real-life 2013 rail disaster that killed 47 people in Quebec, Canada.
“Netflix and the filmmakers of ‘Bird Box’ have decided to replace the clip. We’re sorry for any pain caused to the Lac-Megantic community,” Netflix said in a statement to TheWrap. adding that it would remove the footage in question. The company did not provide a reason for its decision.
Quebec’s minister of culture and communications Nathalie Roy praised Netflix’s decision in a tweet on Thursday.
“The move was expected by respect for the victims of this horrible tragedy, their families and the entire community of Lac-Mégantic,” Roy said. “This result shows that by being united and pooling our efforts, everything is possible.”
In January, the Canadian Parliament voted unanimously to condemn Netflix and demanded that the streaming giant remove the images from “its fiction catalogue,” as well as calling for compensation for the citizens of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. Netflix apologized in a letter to the Canadian minister of culture and communications, but originally said it had no plans to remove the footage.
A brief scene in the Sandra Bullock horror-thriller “Bird Box” uses stock footage that matches news footage from the 2013 Lac-Mégantic rail disaster, in which an unattended freight train carrying crude oil derailed in downtown Quebec. Multiple tank cars exploded and sparked a fire, most of the city’s downtown was destroyed, and 47 people were killed.
The same footage also appeared in an episode of another Netflix show called “Travelers,” and in both instances the stock footage was supplied by the same third party company, Pond5. The footage was removed from “Travelers,” but not from “Bird Box.”
Netflix then coordinated with the town’s mayor, Julie Morin, after she called on the company to remove the footage.
“They’ve committed to reflecting with their partners on the use of these images so that the situation does not repeat itself,” Morin said in a statement via the Associated Press. “We also felt they were sensitive to our citizens’ recovery. I’m satisfied with this exchange.”
However, the Canadian parliament still rebuked Netflix well after the footage was initially spotted.
“Netflix: Remove those images. This is not entertainment,” Pierre Nantel, a legislator with the New Democrat party who introduced the motion in Canadian parliament, said in a tweet.