Fox producers apologize to Kenya for using footage of the Westgate attack in a TV show

A child runs to safety during the attack on Westgate in 2013.
A child runs to safety during the attack on Westgate in 2013.
Image: Reuters/Goran Tomasevic
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In the latest episode of Fox’s spy thriller, 24 Legacy, a counterintelligence agent briefs US authorities on the possibility of a terrorist attack by the show’s main villain. Footage of some of the criminal mastermind’s past work show masked gunmen stalking and shooting their victims in a mall, panicked crowds running for their lives, and parents trying to hide their children. In the episode, the agent says the attack was in Egypt where more than 200 people died, “including 18 Americans.”

Kenyan viewers knew better. Many caught onto the fact that the footage used to portray the fictional attack was taken from real life. It came from the 2013 attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi that killed at least 67 people, most of them Kenyan, in a crisis that forever changed the country’s security regime and exacerbated unease in the capital of East Africa’s largest economy.

Kenyan internet users promptly began tweeting at Fox and the show under the hashtags #SomeoneTellFox (a riff on an earlier internet campaign highlighting a gaff by CNN) and #Westgate:

Chris Alexander, who manages communications for Fox studios, confirmed that the footage was from the attack in Nairobi, carried out by al-Shabaab militants on Westgate Mall. He said that the producers “very much regret using it to depict a fictional act of terror on the show.”

Executive producers Evan Katz and Manny Coto said in an emailed statement, “In episode 4 of 24: Legacy we regretfully included news footage of an attack in Nairobi. It will be removed from all future broadcasts and versions of the show. We apologize for any pain caused to the victims and their families and are deeply sorry.”