Oscars 2013: Betty Ann Ong’s relatives attack Zero Dark Thirty
The relatives of Betty Ann Ong, a flight attendant who died in the 9/11 attacks, have criticized the film Zero Dark Thirty for using a recording of her last call.
Zero Dark Thirty features the voice of Betty Ann Ong, who was on one of the planes that hit the World Trade Center.
Brother Harry Ong told the New York Times it was “just outrageous”.
The Oscar-nominated film tells the story of the hunt and killing of Osama Bin Laden. Screenwriter Mark Boal told the New York Times Betty Ann Ong was a “national hero”.
Betty Ann Ong, a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11, made a 23-minute phone call to authorities from an onboard phone to give them details of the hijacking.
She is among the victims whose voices are heard during a sequence at the start of Zero Dark Thirty. Her brother said the clip was used without permission.
“I thought it was just outrageous, and totally poor judgment, and an abuse of the voices,” Harry Ong told the New York Times.
Harry Ong has requested an apology be made at the Oscars if the film wins any of the five awards it is nominated for.
He also asked the film-makers to donate to a charitable foundation set up in Betty Ann Ong’s name, include a credit for her and put a statement on its website and DVD release making it clear that the Ong family did not endorse torture, which is depicted in the film.
Mark Boal told the newspaper: “As the 9/11 commission justly proclaimed, Betty Ong is without a doubt one of our national heroes.”
In a statement, film studio Sony and Annapurna Pictures said Mark Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow had been in close contact with the families of victims since releasing the film, which was privately screened for many of them.
“Zero Dark Thirty is, in some small way, a tribute to those forever affected by the attacks,” the statement said.
A link has now been added from the official Zero Dark Thirty website to the Betty Ann Ong foundation, the Voices of September 11th organization and the 9/11 memorial site.
The movie has been at the centre of much controversy since its release, including over its depiction of torture, the links between the film-makers and the CIA and whether it was a propaganda tool for President Barack Obama’s re-election.