The cast of Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials have come under significant fire over the past few days for stealing ancient Pueblo artefacts while filming at a Native American site in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
A petition which demands that Dylan O’Brien, the actor who told the world of the theft, and director Wes Ball and other cast members apologize for disrespecting the Pueblo community is beginning to circle the web. The petition was started by 19-year-old fan Maeve Cunningham after O’Brien admitted that he, and other co-stars, took things from the filming site, this is despite being given strict orders not to. The reveal came during an interview on Live! With Kelly and Michael. The petition has so far garnered more than 57,000 signatures.
“The Native Americans from that area, the Pueblo people, have spoken out, angered and disrespected. O’Brien, the film’s director, and other crew members involved need to apologize to Pueblo tribal leaders for their behaviour and return any artefacts they removed from the site,” the petition reads.
“Native American culture and communities deserve more respect than you apparently showed while filming Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. Fans are furious that you would steal Pueblo artifacts despite being told not to. Please publicly apologize to Pueblo community leaders and return what you stole.”
The full video of O’Brien inserting his whole leg into his mouth is below, and for the impatient amongst you the comments begin at the 4:34 mark.
During the interview, O’Brien told hosts Kelly Ripa and former NFL player Michael Strahan that the cast of the Maze Runner sequel shot part of the film at an ancient Indian burial ground.
“It hadn’t been used for filming ever before … They gave us this big speech when we got there to shoot, and they said, ‘Don’t take anything. Respect the grounds.’ ” A reasonable request one would think but the next comments indicate something of a disregard for that warning saying, “They were very strict about littering and don’t take any artifacts like rocks, skulls — anything like that. And everyone just takes stuff, you know, obviously.”
O’Brien would then go on to mention that five of his fellow actors fell ill within a week of leaving the site, jokingly alluding to the idea that a Native American curse had punished them for it.
Cunningham, our intrepid petitioner, has been a big fan of the Maze Runner film and book series, told Care2 that she was disappointed after watching O’Brien’s interview. “Native American rights are important to me, and hearing someone who you have a lot of respect for completely disregard someone else’s culture and basic human rights in such a disrespecting manner was just this big letdown for me,” she said. “I think if the cast and crew came out and apologized and returned whatever they took from the site, it would be a huge step forward in helping Native Americans get the respect they deserve and really need in this country.”
Native American rights are not something we often think about, certainly not here in the UK, but this is an entire race of people whose history is being stepped on. How would any of you feel if a graveyard was vandalised or parts of Stonehenge stolen? How is this any different? The petition will be made available below for any who wish to sign it.