Quebec minister demands Netflix remove Lac-Mégantic images from productions

Smoke rises from railway cars that were carrying crude oil after derailing in downtown Lac-Megantic, Que., on Saturday, July 6, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

In a strongly worded letter addressed to Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix, Quebec’s minister of culture asked for the withdrawal of images related to the Lac-Mégantic tragedy from all of the entertainment giant’s productions, including the hit movie Bird Box.

The images used in Netflix productions were taken from real-life footage of one of the deadliest disasters in recent Canadian history, when a train carrying crude oil derailed, exploded and killed 47 people in Lac-Mégantic in 2013.

WATCH: Lac-Mégantic children mark fifth anniversary of rail disaster

Click to play video: 'Lac-Mégantic children mark fifth anniversary of rail disaster' Lac-Mégantic children mark fifth anniversary of rail disaster
Lac-Mégantic children mark fifth anniversary of rail disaster – Jul 6, 2018

In the letter, Nathalie Roy accuses Netflix of using footage of the rail disaster “purely for entertainment purposes.”

Story continues below advertisement

Earlier this week, Mayor Julie Morin of Lac-Mégantic, who made a similar request, was told by a representative of the streaming service that Netflix would work to ensure no future productions on its platform would use the images.

READ MORE: Netflix has no plans to cut Lac-Mégantic rail disaster scene from ‘Bird Box’ despite outcry

Roy said she was perplexed over why Netflix chose to use the footage in the first place.

“These archives should never be intended for use other than for information or documentary purposes,” she wrote.

“Under no circumstances should we tolerate the use of human tragedies of any kind for entertainment. Both morally and ethically, it is simply inadmissible.”

READ MORE: Netflix accused of using footage of Lac-Mégantic disaster in ‘Bird Box’

Roy goes on to point out that the community of Lac-Mégantic is still trying to recover from the incident before she takes aim at Hastings himself.

“And if it had touched one of your relatives, Mr. Hastings, how would you have reacted by learning that a multinational was using images reminiscent of heavy and dark memories and only for profit?” she asked.

“We can only deplore such a lack of compassion, empathy and solidarity towards all those affected by this horrible tragedy.”

Story continues below advertisement

Roy also questioned whether it was time for big players in film, television and web to develop a code of ethics to avoid similar situations in the future.

Roy posted a full copy of the letter to her Twitter account on Saturday morning. While some lauded her efforts, others criticized the minister for seemingly having written the letter in French only.

Global News reached out to Netflix for comment but has yet to receive a response.

—With files from the Canadian Press

Sponsored content