Netflix’s Bird Box Slammed for Using Real Disaster Footage

Photo: Merrick Morton/Netflix

Netflix’s Bird Box once again finds itself at the center of controversy. Earlier this week, the movie sparked a change in YouTube’s guidelines after people started posting videos of themselves doing potentially dangerous things (like driving) blindfolded. Today, the streaming giant came under fire for using real footage in Bird Box from a 2013 rail disaster in Lac-Mégantic that killed 47 people — and refusing to remove the clips involving the real-life disaster from the film.

Residents of the Quebec town expressed outrage at the way the use of the images minimizes the impact of the tragedy. In an interview with CBC, the deputy city manager of Lac-Mégantic expressed frustration with the use of the images as a device to show a fake disaster, when, for locals, the images are instantly recognizable as their own tragedy.

CBC reported that the images were purchased from a stock-footage company, and noted that this is the second Netflix production allegedly using images from the Lac-Mégantic disaster. Travelers is the other, and the show’s parent company is already working to replace the footage. But a spokesperson for Netflix told the AP that the clip will stay in the movie.

Bird Box can’t seem to stay out of the headlines (or memes) these days. After its December release, the movie inspired a treacherous social-media challenge where people film themselves doing everything from walking outside to giving tattoos to spending an entire day blindfolded. The videos caused Netflix to issue a statement asking people to stop, but earlier this week, the challenge even prompted YouTube to update its community guidelines to ban “dangerous challenges and pranks.” So … voluntary choking (the cinnamon challenge), blood-vessel popping (the Kylie Jenner challenge), burning (the salt-and-ice challenge), and binge-drinking (neknominate) weren’t enough, but a blindfold meme is what finally did it?

Netflix’s Bird Box Slammed for Using Real Disaster Footage