Michael Bay Denies Killing Pigeon On ‘6 Underground’ Set in Italy
Michael Bay is fighting back against a widely seen report that he was charged in Italy with killing a pigeon during the production of Netflix’s 2019 film “6 Underground.”
The filmmaker called the report “false, reckless and defamatory” and says he was never accused of killing an animal.
In a legal letter obtained by Variety, Bay’s attorney is seeking a retraction or correction from TheWrap after the Hollywood trade publication published a report last week about the pigeon incident.
The director’s attorney, Mathew Rosengart, says TheWrap’s story says Bay has been accused or “accused” of “killing a pigeon” in connection with the film he directed. “These statements are simply wrong; they are also harmful,” writes Rosengart.
TheWrap reported that the director was facing charges in Italy in connection with the killing of a pigeon on the Rome set of the Netflix movie, despite making several attempts to clear the matter with Italian authorities. The report cited a production insider who said a pigeon in the house was allegedly killed by a puppet during a shoot and because Bay was the director, he was held responsible. (Pigeons are a protected species in Italy, and the country has a national law that makes it illegal to harm, kill or capture any wild bird.)
Bay told TheWrap that he would not go into specifics as the case is an ongoing court case, but said he declined the option of settling for a small fine with Italian authorities, stating, “I would not accept guilty of injuring an animal.”
Bay has vehemently denied the claims. “I’m a known animal lover and huge animal activist,” Bay previously said in a statement to TheWrap. “No animal involved in the production was injured or harmed. Or any other production I’ve worked on in the last 30 years.”
Now, in a legal filing, Bay’s attorney writes that the director was “never charged, much less ‘accused’ of ‘killing’ an animal.” Rosengart writes that before the story was published, TheWrap became aware of “video evidence that refutes these claims and demonstrates that at no time were any animals harmed, let alone ‘killed.'”
TheWrap could not be reached for comment because a phone number for its media inquiries had a full mailbox that was not currently accepting messages.
Bay’s lawyer says the only “charge” in Italy “relates to whether, in his capacity as the film’s director, Mr. Bay failed to properly supervise crew members (whom he did not even have the ability to hire ) responsible for handling animals on set. Bay’s attorney says the charge is being “vigorously defended.”
Read the legal letter sent by Michael Bay’s lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, here:
I am Michael Bay’s legal counsel and I write regarding your and the Wrap’s false, reckless and defamatory headline and story stating that Michael Bay was accused or “accused” of “killing a pigeon” in connection with a film he directed. These statements are simply wrong; are also harmful.
As you know, Mr. Bay was never charged, much less “accused” of “murdering” an animal. Indeed, prior to publication, you were informed of the existence of video evidence contradicting these claims and demonstrating that at no time was any animal harmed, let alone “killed”. Further, as you also know (but it was not published), the only “accusation” in question in Italy concerns whether, in his capacity as director of the film, Mr. Bay failed to properly supervise the crew members (whom he didn’t even have the ability to hire) responsible for handling the animals on set. This charge is being strongly defended — and indeed, Mr. Bay feels so strongly that, to his credit, he refused to settle the case even for the nominal fine which was proposed by the authorities to settle it.
What makes your story even more outrageous is that you were expressly told, and therefore knew, that the headline was false because Mr. Bay did not “kill” an animal and he was not accused of doing so. Apparently, you also did not adequately investigate the matter by obtaining the actual charge or by interviewing authorities or others who might have provided the facts. Instead, you went ahead with your story, with a false and misleading “click” headline, demonstrating genuine malice and reckless disregard for the truth.
Your story is particularly hurtful and malicious because, contrary to its implications, Michael Bay is an animal rights activist; he loves animals with a passion, as his story shows. However, as a result of your history, his name is now associated with “killing” or “killing” an animal, implying intent. Therefore he is being unfairly abused and attacked. Indeed, there are now numerous articles and countless images on social media linking Mr. Bay to “murders” or “murders” that have gone around the world.
Therefore, your story is 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 you previously noted but ignored) and tarnished his reputation his as someone who fiercely supports animals, financially and otherwise, causing him immense anxiety. All of this exposes you and The Wrap to significant monetary damages. See, e.g., Ringler Associates Inc. v. Maryland Cas. Co., 80 Cal. The application. 4 1165, 1181 (2000); see also Milkovich v. Lorain Journal Co., 497 US 1, 19 (1990); White v. Fraternal Order of Police, 909 F.2d 512, 518 (DC Cir. 1990). Kapellas v. Kofman, 1 Ca1.3d 20, 33, 81 Cal.Rptr. 360 (1969) (defendant is liable “for what is implied as well as for what is expressly stated”).
Considering the above, and other facts and evidence, on behalf of Mr. Bay, we request an immediate retraction or correction of your story.