Netflix will not remove footage of the 2013 Lac-Megantic rail disaster from its hit film Bird Box, the streaming giant confirmed Thursday.
Viewers from Lac-Megantic tuning in to watch the break out Netflix original film Bird Box were shocked when, within the first minutes of the film's runtime, a piece of fiction that deeply affected the small Canadian town made its way into the fictional world.
As Sandra Bullock turned on the news to learn of the monstrous entities compelling humans to take their lives, an oil tanker on fire in the background recalled the tragic 2013 derailment of a train carrying crude oil, causing a massive fire that claimed 47 lives.
First noticed by Lac-Megantic Mayor Julie Morin, the inclusion of the real-life footage immediately drew criticism from Bird Box viewers and Netflix subscribers alike, though Netflix announced in a statement Thursday that it will not be editing the film to remove the footage.
"We will keep the clip in the movie," a Netflix spokesman told the Associated Press, adding that the streaming giant will be looking into ways to do things differently with future projects.
The same footage that appeared in Bird Box was also used in the Canadian science fiction series Travelers and was licensed by Netflix from the stock image vendor Pond 5, who claimed that the footage was wrongfully "taken out of context."
"We deeply regret that this happened and sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended, especially the victims and their families," Tina Witoshkin, a spokesperson for Pond5, said in a statement.
While the footage will remain in Bird Box, Carrie Mudd, president of Travelers' production company Peacock Alley Entertainment, said that the clip will be removed from the Netflix original series, in which it appeared during a scene in Season 3 depicting a nuclear explosion in the streets of London.
"We sincerely apologize and had no intention to dishonour the tragic events of 2013," she said in a statement. "We are already working to replace the footage in the show."
As for Bird Box, which has been streamed more than 80 million times since its December debut, Morin stated that talks with Netflix on Thursday were productive.
"They've committed to reflecting with their partners on the use of these images so that the situation does not repeat itself. We also felt they were sensitive to our citizens' recovery. I'm satisfied with this exchange," Morin said in a statement.