Viewers blast ‘insensitive’ ITV for airing pandemic thriller Contagion during COVID-19 crisis – prompting 160 complaints to Ofcom

  • ITV have been slammed for showing pandemic film Contagion, 2011, last night 
  • Film follows the panic to stop the spread of a new infection that started in China
  • Viewers have commented on the similarities between the film and covid-19
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

As many people across the world remain in quarantine to reduce the spread of covid-19, ITV made the decision to air a pandemic film with noticeable similarities to the current climate on Thursday night.

Steven Soderbergh’s thriller Contagion, at 9pm on ITV2 last night, which follows desperate attempts to stop the spread of a deadly new infection that began in China, while medical experts work towards finding a vaccine.

The pandemic sparks panic across the world as shelves are stripped bare and people begin to practice social distancing. 

Starring Gwyneth Paltrow alongside the likes of A-list celebrities including Matt Damon, Kate Winslet and Jude Law, the film was a box office hit when it was released in 2011. 

However, a flood of social media users have taken to Twitter arguing it’s ‘insensitive’ to show Contagion during the midst of a real pandemic. 

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ITV have been criticized by social media users for showing the 2011 thriller Contagion, amid the ongoing global health pandemic. Pictured: A scene from the film

The 2011 film is believed to have been inspired by the past health crisis SARS which started in China in 2002 and Swine Flu which began in 2009 in Mexico.

The creators spoke to the World Health Organisation during production to achieve an accurate portrayal of how pandemics are managed.  

A flood of people have argued that it was not the right time for ITV to show the thriller, because it could increase fear among the public.

One person wrote: ‘Last night ITV scheduled the movie Contagion, absolutely disgusting, insensitive and unnecessary. The reality is enough. TV showing holiday adverts too! Sort it out TV Channels.’ 

Another said: ‘Seems strange that ITV 2 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.’  

A third added: ‘ITV great idea showing Contagion and frightening the s*** out of everyone, what the hell are you thinking? Bad move really bad move.’ 

Contagion (pictured) features a cast of A-list celebrities including Jude Law, as fictional deadly pathogen MEV-1 spreads across the globe 

Producers behind the blockbuster consulted the World Health Organisation to achieve an accurate portrayal of a pandemic. Pictured: A scene from Contagion

A stream of viewers took to Twitter accusing ITV of being ‘insensitive’ in addition to OfCom receiving 160 complaints 

‘ITV should be ashamed of themselves for putting on the Contagion film tonight. Extremely bad taste,’ wrote another.

OfCom, which is responsible for regulating broadcasts throughout the UK, has received 160 complaints. MailOnline has contacted ITV for comment.  

Some social media users have called ITV ‘brave’ for showing the film, revealing that it has reassured them that we can get through the current pandemic.

One person said: ‘At first I thought ITV scheduling Contagion was in poor taste. Then I watched it (morbid curiousity). And now, I actually feel strangely reassured. Cause in the end the message is that ‘we will get through this and this too shall pass’ #COVID19′

Another wrote: ‘Watching Contagion during a global pandemic was a weird experience (‘that’s not 2m!’, ‘why are they all outside?’, ‘Ooh, they’re not like that in our Tesco!’) Brave scheduling ITV, is 28 Days Later on tomorrow?’ 

A third added: ‘Just spend 2 hours watching the movie Contagion on ITV2, made in 2011. In the present climate a very uncomfortable watch, but f***** brilliant’ 

Others have said watching the film gave them reassurance that COVID-19 will pass 

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