Michael Bay slams ‘false’ story of pigeon’s death on movie set

Michael Bay slams ‘false’ story of pigeon’s death on movie set

Michael Bay slams ‘false’ and ‘defamatory’ story of pigeon’s death on 6 Underground set

“I am a well-known animal lover and major animal activist,” Bay said in a statement. “No animal involved in the production was injured or harmed.”

Lester Fabian Brathwaite

Michael Bay‘s legal team has demanded that the entertainment site The Wrap release an “immediate retraction or correction” for its “false, reckless, and defamatory” story about the director’s alleged involvement in the death of a pigeon.

In a legal letter obtained by EW, representatives for Bay deny that the director was ever “accused, much less ‘charged,’ with ‘killing’ an animal” on the set of the 2018 Netflix film 6 Underground. They add that the outlet was also notified of “video evidence rebutting these allegations” before its article’s publication.

Bay’s team claims the only “charge” he faces in Italy stems from whether or not he “failed to properly supervise crew members” who were responsible for handling the animals on set. It noted that Bay feels “so strongly” about the charge against him that he “refused to settle the case” despite being offered a nominal fine to resolve it.

Michael Bay

Michael Bay

| Credit: Gareth Cattermole/Getty

“What makes your story all the more egregious is that you were expressly told, and you therefore knew, that the headline was false because Mr. Bay did not ‘kill’ an animal and he was charged with no such thing,” the letter stated. “Instead, you proceeded with your story, with a false and misleading ‘clickbait’ headline, demonstrating actual malice and reckless disregard of the truth.”

It noted that the article was “extremely damaging” to Bay and claimed that he is being “unfairly maligned and attacked” as a result.

The letter continued, “Your story is therefore extremely damaging to Mr. Bay personally and professionally (he has publicly discussed his love of animals and his desire to make a film about saving African elephants, another fact of which you had prior notice but ignored) and has tarnished his reputation as someone who fiercely supports animals, financially and otherwise, causing him extreme anguish.”

The Wrap had reported that Bay is facing charges related to the death of a pigeon on the set of 6 Underground, which starred Ryan Reynolds. The director’s Italian lawyer reportedly told the outlet that Bay, as the person running the shoot, was charged with failing to supervise the crew members responsible for handling the animals. The director himself denied the charge entirely, touting “clear visual evidence” disputing the incident.

“I am a well-known animal lover and major animal activist,” Bay said in his original statement to The Wrap. “No animal involved in the production was injured or harmed. Or on any other production I’ve worked on in the past 30 years.”

Citing an unnamed “insider with knowledge of the production,” The Wrap reported that the bird was killed during an apparent accident on the set in Rome. The source reportedly added that another unnamed individual witnessed the incident, took a photo, and reported it to Italian authorities.

But Bay claims to have his own proof. “We have clear video evidence, a multitude of witnesses, and safety officers that exonerates us from these claims,” Bay said in his statement, adding that his evidence “disproves their one paparazzi photo — which gives a false story.”

Pigeons are a pretty big deal in Italy, and not just because they’re among the 500 species of frequent flyers protected under the European Union’s Bird Directive. In 2016, Italian celebrity chef Carlo Cracco ran afoul of the law when he prepared a dish of pigeon meat on national television. But in Venice the pigeon is apparently an unofficial mascot, though not all Italians of a feather flock together in their love of the creatures.

This story has been updated to include a statement from Bay’s legal team.

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