DreamWorks and Universal have been forced to re-work future DVDs of Ridley Scott's Gladiator following complaints in the UK that an additional documentary on the disc carried an image of the Hillsborough football tragedy.
Controversy erupted after the Roman epic was nominated for 15 film awards - the most for any one film - from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta). The academy received complaints that an image of the 1989 soccer disaster, where 96 supporters were killed due to over-crowding at a match, was included in an additional documentary section about violence and sport on the film's DVD. Bafta notified Universal, which has pledged to remove the image from all future DVDs.
"DreamWorks, Universal and Columbia TriStar deeply regret that producers of the documentary section of the Gladiator DVD unwittingly included a library photograph of the Hillsborough tragedy," a studio spokesperson said. "We are sorry for any additional pain this may have caused."
Bafta chief executive Amanda Berry has been answering complaints by expressing grave concern but pointing out that the nominations - which include best film, best director, the audience prize and best actor - are for the film itself. She has asked Universal to also respond to any complaints.
In Berry's response to complaints, she says: "I was extremely concerned to hear about the use of the photograph. I have spoken to Universal and they asked me to say that they are sincerely sorry for the pain this has caused and that they intend to remove the photograph from all future copies. I have asked them to contact to you directly. The Academy rewards excellence and the nominations for Gladiator are for the film itself and for the work of the film makers."