MONTREAL — The minister of Culture and Communications, Nathalie Roy, wrote a letter to the chairman and ceo of Netflix, to make him part of “the amazement and consternation of the government of Québec” before the decision of the american giant to use images of the tragedy in Lac-Mégantic that have cost the lives of 47 people in 2013.
In this letter dated 18 January, but released on Saturday, Ms. Roy wrote to Reed Hastings, that the quebec government “inadequately explains how a global giant such as Netflix may have also found it good to use such images in this context.” According to her, these images should only be used for “purposes of information or documentaries.
In his letter, the minister seems to call into question the use of the real in the fiction that it deems “objectionable” on both moral and ethical. For Ms. Roy, we can’t “in no case” to tolerate the use of human tragedies, whatever they are, for entertainment.
Further, it alleges Netflix and its partners have crossed a “dangerous limit” by using images of a real tragedy, and whose impact is still very tangible in a context of fiction. She accuses Netflix of “having in any way deceived, or even betrayed, their millions of subscribers”, by not disclosing clearly the provenance of these images.
Ms. Roy asked if it would not be time “that the giants of the cinema, television and the Web are questioning the need to adopt a code of ethics so that such abuses never happen again”.
She said that the quebec government wants to call ‘discernment and [the] sense of responsibility” of Mr. Hastings to remove the images of the tragedy appearing in the film Bird Box and in another production. Adding that the population of Lac-Mégantic deserves better treatment, she said the government now hopes “that your company will finally recognize his mistakes with all humility and sincerity that control such a situation, and that it will be evidence of even a hint of humanity and compassion in this matter.”
The letter from Mrs. Roy echoed the remarks of the mayor of Lac-Mégantic, Julie Morin, who was said to wish that Netflix views its catalog as a whole to ensure that the images of the tragedy are not used in a context of entertainment.
Netflix said last week that he did not intend to withdraw his film” Bird Box images of the explosion in Lac-Mégantic, but the broadcaster would have told Ms. Morin that it will work with its partners to ensure that the images will be used in future productions.