Netflix responds after using real-life disaster footage in ‘Bird Box’

The film included footage of Canada's Lac-Mégantic rail disaster

Netflix has confirmed that it won’t be removing footage of a real-life disaster from Bird Box after facing a widespread backlash.

The streaming service has confirmed that the Sandra Bullock film featured footage from the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster in Canada in order to reflect an apocalyptic event at the start of the hugely-popular horror movie.

The tragedy occurred in 2013, and claimed the lives of over 40 people after a train carrying gallons of crude oil derailed in the town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec.

The use of the footage by Netflix was immediately condemned by the town’s mayor Julie Morin, who said in a statement: “You can be sure we are going to follow up on this, and our citizens are on our side.”

However, the BBC now reports that Netflix are standing firm and refusing to remove the footage from the final cut of the movie.

In the wake of the discovery, it was later confirmed that similar footage had also been used by Netflix’s Travelers – a dystopian sci-fi series that debuted in 2016.

In the latter instance, production company Peacock Alley Entertainment later confirmed that they had sourced the footage from stock footage providers Pond 5, and weren’t aware of its authenticity.

The company said the footage had been “taken out of context” and issued an apology “to anyone who was offended, especially the victims and their families”.

For their part, Pond 5 told the BBC that their library of footage features fictional scenes alongside “historical tragedies, military conflicts, weather events, and natural disasters that may depict sensitive events”.

The latest controversy to hit Bird Box comes after YouTube was forced to ban “dangerous pranks” in the wake of the film. It follows the ‘Bird Box Challenge’ – which saw users emulating the events of the film by undertaking tasks while blindfolded.

Although some were innocuous, the danger stakes were continually raised until one teenager crashed her car into the path of oncoming traffic while driving blindfolded.

Netflix has also condemned the challenge.