The cast members of Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials are under fire for some missing Native American artifacts while filming in New Mexico. As a result, a group of people started a petition to get the cast of the film to apologize and return the artifacts. So far, more than 45,000 people have signed the petition, which has a goal of 50,000.
It all began with an interview on talk show Live with Kelly and Michael. The two show hosts brought in Dylan O’Brien, the main character of the film, and began talking to him about the Scorch Trials production. The conversation ranged from topics about scenes in the movie to what Dylan does on his days off.
Then he began talking about their time filming on an ancient, Native American burial ground. He casually admitted that he and the other crew members took things from the site, which is what started the entire inquest.
He talked about how the land had never been used for filming before, and they were very concerned about preserving it.
“They gave us this big speech when we got there to shoot, and they said, ‘Don’t take anything. Respect the grounds,'” O’Brien told Kelly and Michael. “They were very strict about littering and don’t take any artifacts — rocks, skulls, anything like that. And everyone just takes stuff, you know, obviously.”
Watch the full interview below.
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He also discussed how after they took things from the grounds, there seemed to be a curse on the cast. It seemed to be the cause of several mysterious illnesses including fevers, broken ankles, and an appendectomy.
“Within a week, five of our actors went down ill,” he told the hosts. “Random stuff too. Random appendectomy, random 105 fever, random broken ankle. It’s crazy.”
To this, Kelly Ripa humorously responded, “Okay. Didn’t you guys see that episode of ‘The Brady Bunch?’ Did ‘The Brady Bunch’ teach you nothing?”
It was all chuckles and laughs at first. The crowd enjoyed themselves, and it was noted as a humorous and fun interview. However, weeks later, it became clear that the cast had indeed stolen things from the sacred grounds. The petition was started in an attempt to bring justice to the grounds.
It states, “The Native Americans from the area, the Pueblo people, have spoken out, angered and disrespected. While O’Brien plays it for laughs, talking about bringing a Native American curse on the cast, his flip treatment of the crew’s actions is outrageous. O’Brien, the film’s director [Wes Ball], 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 was started by a teenage girl, Maeve Cunningham, who is actually a major fan of Dylan’s. She stated that the idea of “mocking Native American culture” through this theft was outrageous to her.
“I wanted to cut him slack because I am such a fan of his, but ignoring a problem like this just feeds into the racism that Native Americans already deal with,” Maeve Cunningham told the Santa Fe New Mexican. “I wanted something done about it. I thought, ‘Why not start a petition?'”
She also stated that she doesn’t believe in curses, but she does believe in guilty consciences, and so they felt the need to blame their illnesses on the artifacts, another form of mockery to the Native American people.
As a result of these efforts, a full-blown investigation has begun.
One statement from the Associated Press revealed, “Twentieth Century Fox and The Scorch Trials production team take these issues very seriously and we are conducting a thorough investigation into the matter. If any artifacts were mishandled or removed from the location, we will do everything to ensure they are restored.”
The investigation will continue until they can determine that the artifacts have been returned. Once the petition reaches its designated 50,000 supporters, they will also need to apologize for the casual way they treated the burial grounds. For now, the cast of Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials needs to work on getting over their mysterious illnesses.
[Image via Jason Merritt/Getty Images]