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Netflix finally agrees to remove real-life train derailment footage from Bird Box

Netflix finally agrees to remove real-life train derailment footage from Bird Box


The outcry worked — eventually

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Netflix has finally decided that its original horror movie Bird Box doesn’t need to contain footage of the real-life train disaster that killed 47 people in Lac-Mégantic, Canada in 2013.

Originally, in the face of protests from the Canadian town and online supporters, Netflix tacitly refused to remove footage of the exploding train, which the film used in a fictional news report at the beginning of the movie. But now, nearly three months after Bird Box started streaming on Netflix and nearly two months after the protest, the company agreed to remove the material. A new version, which will replace the real-life derailment with fictional footage from an unspecified older TV series, should be available on Netflix globally in a matter of weeks.

“Netflix and the filmmakers of Bird Box have decided to replace the clip,” reads part of a company statement provided to The Verge and other publications. “We’re sorry for any pain caused to the Lac-Mégantic community.”

According to The Canadian Press, Lac-Mégantic’s Mayor Julie Morin is satisfied with the outcome: “Yes, there was a delay, but in the end, the most important thing is that people came to the conclusion that the situation was significant enough to settle.”

“This result shows that by being in solidarity and by putting our efforts together, anything is possible,” tweeted Nathalie Roy, Quebec’s minister of culture and communications.

It’s possible Netflix benefitted from the delay

Still, the late response means it’s possible that Bird Box has already had the lion’s share of its viewership. Scandals often tend to make people rush to see something quicker than they might normally have, and Bird Box had more than one — in additional to the train derailment outcry, there was also the potentially dangerous, viral Bird Box challenge that saw YouTube creators trying to spend 24 hours living their lives with a blindfold on.

Netflix said 45 million accounts watched Bird Box in the first week alone.

Correction, 8:01 PM ET: Nathalie Roy is minister of culture and communications for the province of Quebec, not the town of Lac-Mégantic.