Outrage Erupts Over FOX’s Use of Westgate Terror Attack Footage in TV Series

Mark Babatunde February 24, 2017

The FOX network has been widely criticized for its use of candid footage from the deadly Westgate terror attack in its hit series “24 Legacy.”

The latest episode of “24 Legacy” uses real video footage from the 2013 Westgate terror attack in Nairobi, Kenya, for a fictional story line about a terror attack in Alexandria, Egypt.

In a scene depicting a top-level security briefing, a character from the series says, “This is the footage from Al-Jegrad market in Alexandria, Egypt, three years ago. The attack was planned and executed by Bin Khalid and his men.”

A Tragic Massacre

In September 2013, much of the world was left in shock when gunmen belonging to the terror group Al-Shabaab attacked the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. The mall was popular with the Kenyan middle class as well as foreign nationals and expatriates.

The mass shooting attack and the ensuing two-day standoff with security operatives left at least 67 people dead with more than 175 wounded.

Westgate shopping mall attack

Close circuit footage of some of the al-Shabaab gunmen in the heat of the attack. Photo credit: BBC

After the offensive episode aired, many Kenyans took to several social media platforms to express their displeasure and condemn the show’s producers using the hashtag #SomeoneTellFox, slamming the apparent insensitivity of Fox TV:

Some commenters were incensed that the series would choose to produce content and make money from what was clearly a human tragedy.

The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) also described the show as “insensitive,” with KFCB head Ezekiel Mutua saying in a statement:

The Board regards the movie as a repulsive, insensitive, and [a] reckless piece of art that heartlessly evokes the painful memories of the tragic terror attack. It flies in the face of basic consideration of human dignity, in total disregard of the feelings of the victims and their families.

A few hours later, a FOX spokesman studios confirmed the use of the footage and offered an apology on behalf of the network in a statement:  

The producers very much regret using it to depict a fictional act of terror on the show.

And the executive producers of the series Evan Katz and Manny Coto added that their actions were regrettable:

We apologise for any pain caused to victims and their families and are deeply sorry. It will be removed from all future broadcasts and versions of the show.

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: June 19, 2018


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