In February 2010, two commuter trains which carried hundreds of people collided outside Brussels. This was the worst train crash in Belgium and it killed at least 19 people and injured many more.
Nearly a decade after this unfortunate incidents, victims received an unwelcome reminder of the same crash when footage from that disaster showed up in a Netflix movie called “Death Note” which depicted a fictional train crash.
Anita Mahy, one of the survivors of the 2010 crash, told the Belgian newspaper De Standaard- “You will just sit and watch an evening movie unsuspectingly and then face the accident again. It makes me furious.”
An SNCB spokesman, Belgium’s national railway company, told Le Soir newspaper that the company “deplore[s] the usage of these images which have been taken completely out of context,” and called the act “disrespectful.” The BBC reported that a company spokesman said that SNCB hadn’t been informed about Netflix planning to use the images. Netflix didn’t immediately comment on the same.
This isn’t the first time that an unfortunate event’s real has been controversially used in a film or TV series which is based on fiction.
In 2017, an episode of Fox’s “24: Legacy” featured an intelligence briefing wherein US officials were told about a criminal’s past exploits, and this included an attack on a shopping mall. The briefing could be fictional, but the footage which was captured during the real-world terrorist attack on Westgate mall in Nairobi, wherein about 67 people were killed. The attack was carried out by the Islamist terrorist group al-Shabab, and this terrorist attack was one of the worst in the Kenyan history. It prompted security protocol changes throughout East Africa. Usage of the footage on the show sparked flak from users in Kenya.
Quart reported that the producers later went on to apologize for the same, and a spokesman for the producers stated that the producers were “very much in regret for using it to depict a fictional act of terror on the show.“