It has not been an especially great week for Netflix or its polarising monster flick Bird Box, which has spawned one of the most idiotic so-called “challenges” to surface in this cursed timeline we’re trapped in. In yet another public relations headache for the company, Netflix is now looking into whether actual footage of a deadly 2013 event in Canada appeared in Bird Box after it was discovered in at least one other production.
According to the Canadian Press, an early Bird Box scene involving a newscast about a mysterious phenomenon resulting in mass suicides appears to depict real footage of the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster, one of the worst rail incidents in Canada’s history. The incident occurred in the Québec town after a train transporting crude oil derailed and exploded, leaving 47 people dead.
Footage of the incident was recently discovered in an episode of the latest season of the science fiction series Travellers, which was produced by Toronto-based Peacock Alley Entertainment. The production company’s president Carrie Mudd told the Canadian Press it got the imagery from stock footage supplier Pond5, whose spokesperson Tina Witoshkin told BuzzFeed News the footage “was taken out of context and used in entertainment programming”.
Pond5 apologised for the obvious oversight, telling BuzzFeed News that it “deeply regret[s] that this happened and sincerely apologise[s] to anyone who was offended, especially the victims and their families”. Mudd said in a separate statement that Peacock Alley Entertainment had “no intention to dishonour the tragic events of 2013”.
Both Mudd and a Netflix spokesperson reportedly told the Canadian Press that the images would be removed from the episode of Travellers in which they appear; as for Bird Box, Netflix told the outlet that it was investigating whether the footage shown in the film does indeed depict the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster.
It’s not clear if the footage of the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster has been used in other productions on the platform. However, as BuzzFeed News noted, Netflix was accused earlier this month of using footage from another fatal train crash that occurred in Belgium in 2010 in its film Death Note.
Bird Box has created some unique hassles for Netflix in recent weeks, not the least of which include the extremely moronic “Bird Box challenge”, which involves wearing blindfolds while wandering around and (in particularly unfortunate cases) operating a vehicle.
The challenge recently prompted YouTuber Jake Paul to idiotically dash through traffic with his own eyes covered, a stunt he (of course) later uploaded to the platform. (At least YouTube seems to have pulled the cord on that mess.) Netflix has since asked that people please not do this.