ITV has received backlash for airing Contagion on Thursday evening (March 26), a film about a virus pandemic sweeping the world.
Viewers believed it was insensitive to show the Steven Soderbergh-directed film amid the current coronavirus pandemic, and industry regulator Ofcom received 160 complaints about it.
The 2011 film, starring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Marion Cotillard, followed a deadly virus, originating from animals in China, as it spread around the world – eerily similar to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Viewers thought the film was a strange pick from ITV given the current global situation, with some believing it would cause even more panic among the public.
One viewer wrote: "Seems strange that ITV2 thought it was a good idea to show Contagion last night. I thought this film, along with others (Outbreak, Andromeda Strain etc) would be on a temporary 'NO' list from Ofcom."
Another viewer added: "ITV scaring the UK right now by airing the film Contagion. OMG it's literally what's happening right now with the coronavirus."
Fellow unhappy viewers shared their thoguhts below:
However, not everyone thought it was bad. Some viewers believed it was a really good tool for showing people the importance of social distancing and that there is an end in sight.
One viewer wrote: "At first, I thought ITV scheduling Contagion was in poor taste. Then, I watched it (morbid curiosity). And now, I actually feel strangely reassured. Because in the end, the message is that 'we will get through this' and 'this too shall pass'."
Meanwhile, some of the Contagion cast, including Matt Damon, have also filmed videos in collaboration with medical advisors about the importance of hand washing and social distancing.
You’ve seen it everywhere, but there’s a reason. Contagion star Matt Damon explains why #SocialDistancing is the most critical thing you can do right now. Then head to https://t.co/sUXphD602y to find out more. #ControlTheContagion #publichealth #ColumbiaSPH pic.twitter.com/3pHHbdfuOc— ColumbiaPublicHealth (@ColumbiaMSPH) March 27, 2020
The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
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