Michael Bay has been charged with killing a pigeon while directing a film in Italy. The filmmaker, however, denies that such a thing has ever happened under his watch.
The alleged bird murder occurred in 2018, while Bay was filming on the set of the Netflix film 6 Underground, according to a report by TMZ.
Italian prosecutors say the pigeon was killed by a dolly during the film’s production in Rome, where it is illegal to harm or kill wild birds. Italian authorities also noted that someone on set saw the incident, and snapped a photo before reporting it to police.
Sources connected to the production, however, told the outlet that all of the pigeons landed safely during the filming of 6 Underground.
“Everyone knows Michael is an animal activist. This would never happen on his set,” one source said. “There are dozens of witnesses who said that this didn’t happen.”
While Bay did not harm any birds himself, he is reportedly being charged because he was the film’s director. The filmmaker has tried to get the case thrown out several times, but to no avail, TMZ added.
Bay was reportedly given the option of paying a small fine to settle the case, but he has refused, saying that he will not plead guilty to harming an animal.
Italian cities are known for being overpopulated with pigeons, which are oftentimes called “rats of the sky,” as they are known to carry diseases.
In 2009, a vigilante pigeon killer struck three different areas of Florence, using grains mixed with an unidentified poison to kill at least 150 pigeons, according to a report by La Repubblica.
“The victims are found on the ground face up, on sidewalks and in gardens,” the report noted. “So many dead pigeons — every day bodies are found and the body count rises rapidly.”
Mayors of Italian cities have also acknowledged their pigeon overpopulation problem.
In 2021, for example, Maurizio Colombo, the mayor of Cardano al Campo, passed an ordinance to “protect decorum, hygiene, and public health” by banning citizens from feeding pigeons in an attempt to keep its population under control, La Repubblica reported.
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