Michael Bay Denies Allegations That A Pigeon Was Killed During The Filming Of 6 Underground [Update]

Update 01/14/2023: Per Variety, Michael Bay's attorney has issued a legal letter demanding a retraction or correction from The Wrap, who originally broke this story. The letter describes The Wrap's report, and particularly the headline stating that Bay had been "charged with killing a pigeon," as "false, reckless, and defamatory," continuing:

As you know, Mr. Bay was never accused, much less "charged," with "killing" an animal. Indeed, prior to publication, you were placed on notice of the existence of video evidence rebutting these allegations and demonstrating that at no time was any animal harmed, let alone "killed." Further, as you also know (but failed to publish), the only "charge" at issue in Italy concerns 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 the animals on set. That charge is being vigorously defended — and indeed, Mr. Bay feels so strongly that, to his credit, he refused to settle the case even for the nominal fine that was proposed by authorities to resolve it.

Our headline has been updated to reflect the dispute. Original article follows.

Remember "6 Underground," that one Michael Bay movie starring Ryan Reynolds? The government of Italy certainly does, and not for a particularly good reason. The Wrap has revealed that the director could be charged with animal cruelty in the country after a dolly allegedly struck and killed a pigeon while filming a take in the city of Venice. Insiders have told the website that an unnamed individual who was on set documented the incident and took it to authorities, prompting a back-and-forth legal battle between them and Bay.

While distributor Netflix and financier Skydance have not commented on the report, the director has. Bay alleges that the entire incident was false, saying that numerous other accounts dispute the one given to authorities. "We have clear video evidence, a multitude of witnesses, and safety officers that exonerates us from these claims," the "Ambulance" director told The Wrap. "And disproves their one paparazzi photo — which gives a false story."

He also reaffirmed that he would never purposefully or accidentally kill an animal. He cited his own activism and his otherwise clean track record as proof of this. "I am a well-known animal lover and major animal activist," Bay said. "No animal involved in the production was injured or harmed, or on any other production I've worked on in the past 30 years."

No laughing matter

While it may be easy to laugh at the absurdity of the situation, it's actually a surprisingly serious crime in Italy to harm or kill a pigeon. That's because they are one of the 572 species of bird protected under European law's Birds Directive. When looking at the annexes provided by the European Commission, it is likely that the Italian government wants to charge Bay with violating Annex 3 — this states that "activities that directly threaten birds" are punishable by law, and if true, operating a dolly in the vicinity of pigeons could fit that description.

This is not the first time Bay and his team have tried to throw out the case. The Wrap claims that negotiations to drop the case been brought on three separate occasions, but none have been successful thus far due to Italian authorities not wanting to settle until the director pleads guilty.

"I was offered by the Italian authorities a chance to settle this matter by paying a small fine," explained Bay, "but I declined to do so because I would not plead guilty to having harmed an animal."

Further details on the case are currently unknown.