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Early in the horror movie, Sandra Bullock’s character Malorie, and her sister Jessica (Sarah Paulson) watch footage from the Lac-Mégantic disaster on the news. In the fictional world, the footage sets the stage for the disastrous events to come.
After an outcry from Lac-Mégantic citizens, as well as Canadian politicians, the company reversed course and decided to take out traumatic images of a train explosion that killed 47 people in 2013.
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Netflix told the Canadian Press, “We’re sorry for any pain caused to the Lac-Mégantic community.”
In January, a motion was passed by the Canadian parliament denouncing Netflix’s use of the Lac-Mégantic footage. Québec’s minister of culture, Nathalie Roy, officially asked Netflix to remove the footage from the movie, as did the mayor of Lac-Mégantic, Julie Morin.
Roy reacted to Netflix’s decision by tweeting in French, “This gesture was awaited as a sign of respect for the victims of this trauma and the whole community of #LacMégantic.”
Ce geste était attendu par respect pour les victimes de cet horrible drame, leurs proches et toute la communauté de #LacMégantic. Ce résultat démontre qu’en étant solidaires et en mettant nos efforts en commun, tout est possible. https://t.co/fxLUzhPkpv#MCC #PolQc #AssNat— Nathalie Roy (@NathalieRoyCAQ) March 14, 2019
“It’s hard enough for our citizens to see these images when they are used normally and respectfully on the news,” Morin told the CBC in January when it was discovered that the footage had been used both in the Canadian series Travelers and in Bird Box. “Just imagine, to have them used as fiction as if they were invented.”
Forty-seven people were killed in the Lac-Mégantic, Québec rail disaster on July 6, 2013. A train derailment caused a shipment of crude oil to spill into the Canadian town, igniting a blaze which destroyed most of the downtown area.
The original version of the film will remain on the streaming platform until the edits are completed, which representatives from Netflix told Mashable would be in the “next few weeks.”
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Stéphanie Fillion is a French-Canadian journalist covering politics and foreign affairs in Montreal, Canada. She has worked for Radio-Canada in Vancouver and was a San Paolo fellow at La Stampa in Turin. In 2015, she won the Eu-Canada Young Journalist Award. She holds an M.A. in Journalism, Politics and Global Affairs from Columbia Journalism School and a B.A. in Comparative Politics, History and Italian Studies from McGill University. Her work appeared in outlets such as Quartz, Vice News, Ipolitics, and PassBlue.