Netflix is receiving a wave of criticism in Quebec these days. Both users and government authorities have demanded by several means that two of their productions remove the real images of the Lac-Mégantic accident, one of the worst disasters in the history of Canada. On July 6, 2013, dozens of tanker cars that transported oil exploded in that town located about 250 kilometers from Montreal. The balance was 47 dead.
Last week, some people watching Travelers, a series of science fiction, recognized images of the accident when a supposed nuclear explosion in London was shown on screen. The perplexity began to circulate in social networks and also reached journalists from several Québec media. "At first I thought that it did not look like London and that those images reminded me of something else. I took out my cell phone and started searching in Google. The smoke columns and wagons confirmed it to me. I could not believe they did that, "he told Radio-Canada one of the viewers surprised.
Shortly after, it was the turn of Bird Box, the movie that since its premiere on Netflix It has been seen by more than 80 million people. In one of the first scenes, the character played by Sandra Bullock looks on a television some chaotic images caused by an unknown force. One of them corresponds to the tragedy of Lac-Mégantic and was recognized by several Quebecois. Julie Morin, mayor of the town, complained publicly. Likewise, the Coalition of citizens in favor of rail safety at Lac-Mégantic said that the scenes were reminiscent of an extremely painful event.
On Thursday, Morin received a call from a representative of Netflix. "The dialogue that the mayor held with the company was constructive. He listened to signs of sensitivity to the effort that Lac-Mégantic is making to recover from the tragedy. Netflix undertook to initiate a substantive debate on the use of images of this type ", comments to EL PAÍS Karine Dubé, responsible for communications of the municipality of Lac-Mégantic. Netflix and Peacock Alley Entertainment, co-producer of Travelers, said they will shortly make the changes in the episode of the series where the tragedy appears. However, the company streaming He did not mention Bird Box.
The annoyance over Netflix's silence regarding the film escalated government levels. On Saturday, the content of a letter written by Nathalie Roy, Minister of Culture of Quebec, to Reed Hastings, president and CEO of the company, was made public. In the letter it was asked to erase the images as quickly as possible and described the practice of "aberrant": "These files should only be used in a documentary or for informational purposes. A community is trying to recover from this difficult experience. Some families were destroyed, parents lost their children and many people saw their friends, colleagues and loved ones suffer and die. "
This Monday, Corie Wright, director of global policies for Netflix, responded to the minister by letter. "We regret any pain that these images have caused the Lac-Mégantic community, as we expressed it at the time to Mayor Morin," Wright said, noting that the company did not know the origin of the video recordings when they were released. selected. He also commented that the use of archival images is frequent in film and television, so they can not change the content of the tape anymore. However, he stressed that the Netflix staff is having a series of reflections on the best practices to follow to avoid similar situations in the future.
"We appreciate that the company has acknowledged its mistakes and apologized to the people of Lac-Mégantic. However, we regret that he maintains his decision not to eliminate the images of this tragedy of Bird Box, while he already agreed to do so for the series, which is inconsistent in our opinion, "said Minister Roy on Tuesday The Canadian Press.