Disney faces a further backlash over its new 7/7 drama – after it filmed scenes related to the death of Jean Charles de Menezes who was mistakenly shot dead by police, MailOnline can reveal today.
An actor playing the Brazilian-born electrician in Suspect: The Shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, was filmed walking into London’s Stockwell Tube station, where he was killed 18 years ago.
Seconds later, actors playing undercover police arrived in 4x4s and ran after him, as real-life officers did on July 22, 2005, after the attacks on July 7.
One witness told MailOnline: ‘The Tube station was open that day. People were coming out as actors ran towards the entrance and put on police caps. They may have no idea what was going on. It looked terrifying.’
Transport for London (TfL) told MailOnline filming had been agreed beforehand and, while the station wasn’t shut, posters had been put up around and inside the station to inform customers filming was taking place. It added that all actors were unarmed, with no prop weapons, and it had granted permission after families and survivors of the attacks were consulted.
There is already fury amongst 7/7 survivors and families of the dead after Disney+ began filming a new drama series depicting the terror attack. Victims of the four suicide bombings that rocked the capital in July 2005 said the highly realistic sets showed ‘a lack of respect’ to the 52 killed and the hundreds wounded.
The limited series is written and executive produced by Jeff Pope, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter behind hit movies including Philomena and Stan and Ollie. It is produced by Etta Pictures, Mr Pope’s production label which is part of ITV Studios, it has also been confirmed that the series will be directed by BAFTA award-winning Paul Andrew Williams.
Mr de Menezes was shot dead on a train at Stockwell Underground station in south London on July 22, 2005.
The filming there for the Disney show is understood to have taken place on Sunday, October 22.
Mr de Menezes, a Brazilian working as an electrician in the capital, was shot in the head seven times by police after being followed by officers from his home nearby.
Later inquiries heard he appeared to match the description of one of the failed suicide bombers, whose devices failed to detonate on the transport system the previous day.
Their attempted attack followed the 7/7 atrocity which killed 52 people on Tube trains and a bus in London earlier that month.
Mr de Menezes’s family led a long campaign calling for police officers to be prosecuted for the shooting and criticising Scotland Yard for its handling of the operation, which was led at the time by Dame Cressida Dick.
No police officers involved in Mr De Menezes’ fatal shooting ever faced disciplinary action, and Dame Cressida was cleared of any blame by a jury.
Dame Cressida was the senior commander in charge of the botched operation that led to the fatal shooting of Mr de Menezes.
She oversaw the operation that led to officers mistakenly identifying the Brazilian as an on-the-run suicide bomber, two weeks after the July 7 London bombings.
The Metropolitan Police was successfully prosecuted for health and safety failings, but in an unusual move the jury attacked the Met but said it did not hold Ms Dick responsible.
She told the Mail in 2018: ‘It was an appalling thing – an innocent man killed by police. Me in charge. Awful for the family and I was properly held to account. We learned every lesson that was to be learned.
‘My job was to stand up and be counted, tell the truth and carry on. If police officers fell to pieces or resigned when operations didn’t go well, it wouldn’t send out a good message.’
Disney has already been branded ‘shameful’ by victims of the 7/7 terror attack in London – the worst loss of life in a terrorist attack on mainland Britain in history – after the entertainment giant recreated the bombings for an upcoming TV drama.
The co-ordinated suicide attacks on the capital’s Tube and bus network killed 56 and injured 770 on July 7 2005.
There has been horror after pictures emerged of the show’s recreation of the bombing of the Number 30 bus at Tavistock Square, in Bloomsbury.
Actors playing victims with missing limbs and burns are also seen fleeing the scene. It is being filmed in Bermondsey – just a few miles from the sites of the four bombings that took place that day at Aldgate, Edgware Road and Russell Square stations.
Victims of Britain’s deadliest terror attack have slammed Disney for recreating the traumatic day, and even accused the company of failing to consult them in the run-up to the filming of Suspect.
There is also anger that Disney allegedly failed to put up many visible signs that warned passers-by of the production – meaning they were not sure if it was real.
Daniel Biddle, the worst-injured survivor of the attacks, said Disney’s production was ‘shameful.’
The 43-year-old told the Sun: ‘It’s absolutely shameful. I can’t ever forget 7/7 or get over it. This is a lack of respect by Disney.’
Daniel, who lost both legs, an eye and his spleen in the horrific attack, said producers failed to contact him before filming for the show began in early October.
‘It’s pretty sick not to consult those who were injured or the loved ones of those who lost their lives.’
A source told MailOnline that producers ‘have been, and will be’ speaking to several people who were affected by the attack.
But Michael Henning, who is part of an online support group for survivors, was adamant no one had been in touch.
The 57-year-old broker, who suffered injuries to his face and eye, said: ‘These things have to be done with taste, decency, and dignity.
‘I would implore them to keep everyone informed as this is such a sensitive subject and can cause deep distress.’
On top of this, Disney was accused of distorting facts, despite claiming that the production is a ‘factual dramatisation.’
One standout image made front pages across the world, showing a barefooted woman in a burn mask. While the iconic image was taken outside Edgware Road Station in 2005, Disney’s production places her at Tavistock Square.
Disney said none of the actors on set were representing any specific individuals.
Survivor Daniel, who was in the Edgware Road explosion, said: ‘To take a real life event with such a huge loss of life and devastation and say, “It’s not interesting enough, we need to zhuzh it up” is just barbaric.
‘It seems as if they’ve twisted the facts to suit their own narrative.’
Daniel, who now lives in South Wales, added: ‘It should be reflected accurately.
‘People died in horrendous ways and for that to be blatantly disregarded is sick.’
Locals who saw the production being filmed accused Disney of not warning them enough that the traumatic bombing was going to be recreated.
Jack Nuzum, 30, added: ‘There was one sign up warning us and then suddenly there was a huge bus crash in the middle of the park that looked like a disaster scene.’
A source insisted that signs were put in place alongside marshals canvassing the area, to alert the public to the nature of the production, and added that the model of the blown-up bus was covered in tarpaulin to reduce the amount of time it was visible.
George Psaradakis, 67, who was driving the number 30 bus when it was torn apart by a suicide bomber, said: ‘It’s been years — why should they ignite it?
‘I’m not going to watch it. It’s tasteless.
‘This will bring pain to everyone, especially to those who lost their loved ones.’
On July 7, 2005, four suicide bombers, armed with improvised explosives stuck inside their backpacks, killed 52 people and themselves, and injured hundreds more.
Three of the group – Mohammad Sidique Khan, 30, Shehzad Tanweer, 22, and Hasib Hussain, 18 – departed Leeds in a rented car bound for Luton, where they picked up 19-year-old Germaine Lindsay before heading for the centre of London.
The four attackers went after rush-hour commuters as they set off the explosives in their backpacks between 8.49am and 9.47am.
The three Underground explosions were set off within 50 seconds of each other, while the Tavistock Square explosion was set off as evacuees were being put onboard buses to get them away from Tube stations.
A Disney spokesman told MailOnline: ‘Suspect: The Shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes is a factual dramatisation of events surrounding the police shooting of the innocent Brazilian shortly after the attempted bombings on July 21.
‘The team producing the series has significant expertise in this type of programming, incorporating extensive in-depth research that has been approached with the utmost sensitivity and respect, and all involved are conscious of the huge responsibility that comes with telling this story.
‘As with any production, a number of factors were carefully considered when sourcing the filming location, and throughout filming production have worked very closely with TFL, police, the council, community and businesses to ensure all were aware ahead of time that filming was taking place with marshals and signage canvassing the area on the day.’