Netflix has finally removed real footage from the 2013 Lac-Mégantic rail disaster from its streaming hit “Bird Box.” The decision comes after months of criticism against the streaming giant for using footage of the tragedy to show the world in “Bird Box” descending into chaos. The train accident occurred July 6, 2013 in Quebec, Canada and left 47 people dead, making it the fourth-deadliest rail accident in Canadian history.
“Netflix and the filmmakers of ‘Bird Box’ have decided to replace the clip,” a Netflix spokesperson confirmed to Entertainment Weekly. “We’re sorry for any pain caused to the Lac-Mégantic community.”
The footage originally made news in mid January after Lac-Mégantic mayor Julie Morin spoke out against Netflix for using footage of the tragedy in a fictional context. “I don’t know if this is happening all the time, but we are looking for assurances from Netflix that they are going to remove them,” Morin said at the time. “You can be sure we are going to follow up on this, and our citizens are on our side.”
Netflix originally announced it would not be removing the footage because it can not make changes to “finished content,” but the company has since come around on the decision. At the end of January, the Parliament of Canada spoke out against the use of the footage and urged Netflix to reconsider pulling it from the movie.
“We know people are going to go and watch this film, and again these real images will be used,” Canadian legislator Pierre Nantel told the Associated Press. “For people in Lac-Megantic, they saw images of their own downtown burning, and could imagine their own family members in it.”
Canada’s Parliament passed a motion saying Netflix should compensate the people of Lac-Megantic, Quebec. The streaming giant licensed the footage of the Lac-Mégantic train accident from stock image vendor Pond 5. Netflix public policy director Corie Wright reacted to the outrage by saying the company “understands that many feel frustration and sadness at seeing images of this tragic event.”
In addition to “Bird Box,” footage from the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster was also featured in the Netflix original series “Travelers.” The Canadian production company behind the show worked quickly to remove the footage. Both projects are now streaming on Netflix.