‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’ (Photo: Richard Foreman Jr./Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)
On Live! With Kelly and Michael the film’s star Dylan O'Brien admitted that he and other actors stole artifacts from an ancient Indian burial ground while filming in Albuquerque.
By THR Staff
The cast of Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials has come under fire for stealing ancient Pueblo artifacts while filming at a Native American site in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
A Care2 petition demanding that Dylan O'Brien, director Wes Ball and other cast members apologize for disrespecting the Pueblo community 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 (despite being given strict orders not to) during an interview on Live! With Kelly and Michael (see below). The petition has so far garnered more than 21,000 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 behavior and return any artifacts 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.”
Watch O'Brien’s 'Live! With Kelly and Michael’ interview below (comments begin at the 4:34 mark):
During the interview, O'Brien told hosts Kelly Ripa and 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,’ ” he said. “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.” He then went on to mention that five actors fell ill within one week of leaving the site, jokingly alluding to the idea that a Native American curse had punished them for it.
Cunningham, who 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.”