Director Michael Bay slammed a story from TheWrap as “false, reckless and defamatory” after the publication reported he was facing charges related to killing a pigeon on the set of the 2019 Netflix movie “6 Underground,” according to Variety.
The comments come after TheWrap reported that he is facing charges in Italy related to killing pigeons, which are a protected species in the country.
Pai, in a statement to the publication, referred to himself as a well-known animal lover and major animal activist.
“No animal involved in the production has been hurt or injured. Or in any other production I have worked on in the last 30 years.
TheWrap cited an unnamed “insider” in its report who claimed a doll killed a homer pigeon during a capture in Rome while another source said “the scene featured a large group of pigeons and a wind machine.”
The publication reported that Pai was accused of “failing to supervise crew members responsible for the handling of animals,” according to Fabrizio Sigma, an Italian lawyer.
Bay’s attorney, Matthew Rosengart, in a legal letter obtained by Variety, called TheWrap’s headline “false, reckless, and defamatory” and criticized its coverage of the reports.
“As you know, Mr. Bay has never been charged, let alone charged with ‘killing’ an animal,” Rosengart wrote in the letter.
He added that TheWrap had been informed, prior to the report’s publication, of video evidence that “refutes” allegations of animal harm.
The letter continued: “The only ‘charge’ raised in Italy concerned whether Mr. Pai, as the film’s director, failed to properly supervise the crew members (whom he did not even have the power to designate) responsible for the handling of animals on set. This charge is vigorously defended – and indeed, Mr. Pai feels strongly that he, to his credit, has refused to settle the case even for the nominal fine proposed by the authorities to resolve it.”
The letter also issues a request to TheWrap: an “immediate retraction or correction” of the story.
HuffPost has tried to reach out to TheWrap for comment on the letter but the phone number linked to the post has an inbox full.