Netflix Under Scrutiny for Using Footage of Real-Life Fatal Tragedy in 'Travelers', 'Bird Box'

Netflix is facing backlash after two of its originals, Travelers and Bird Box, reportedly used footage from the tragic 2013 Lac-Mégantic rail disaster, in which dozens were killed.

According to North Shore News, the footage was first spotted by high school ethics teacher Guillaume Bouchard while he was watching Season 3 of Netflix original sci-fi series Travelers. In the scene, a nuclear explosion ravages the streets of London, though the footage used to depict the explosion and its aftermath, which includes an oil tanker burned in the background, is partly taken from the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster.

The footage is also believed to have been used in the recently released film Bird Box, appearing within the first minutes of the disaster/thriller as Sandra Bullock turns on her TV to watch the news, discovering that something is causing people to kill themselves.

The Lac-Mégantic rail disaster, one of the worst rail incidents in Canada's history, occurred in July 2013 when a train carrying crude oil derailed, causing a massive and deadly fire that killed 47 people and destroyed the town's downtown area.

"It's hard enough for our citizens to see these images when they are used normally and respectfully on the news," Lac-Mégantic Mayor Julie Morin, who first noticed the footage used in Bird Box, told BuzzFeed News. "Just imagine, to have them used as fiction, as if they were invented."

Carrie Mudd, president of Travelers' production company Peacock Alley Entertainment, claimed that the footage was purchased from the stock-footage company Pond5 and apologized for unknowlingly including it in the series.

"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."

Tina Witoshkin, a spokesperson for Pond5, also apologized, stating that the company was "recently" made aware that the footage "was taken out of context and used in entertainment programming."


"We deeply regret that this happened and sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended, especially the victims and their families," Witoshkin said, adding that the company intends to contact all customers who had purchased related clips to alert them to "the sensitive nature of this footage."

Netflix said that it would investigate whether or not Bird Box also used footage from the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster, though the BBC reports that the streaming giant, which faced backlash earlier this month after using footage from a deadly Belgium train crash in Death Note, will not remove the clip used in the film.