Netflix sued by free diver who claims film suggests he murdered his wife
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Netflix is being sued by a free diver who claims a film suggests he killed his wife by sabotaging her air tank.
The French film, called No Limit, is fictional but was heavily inspired by events surrounding the death of Audrey Mestre in 2002.
Because of this, the streaming site was sued for defamation by Audrey’s former husband, Francisco ‘Pipin’ Ferreras.
Back in the late nineties and early Noughties, the couple had been record-breaking free divers who regularly competed across the globe.
The extreme sport would see the couple dive to a huge depth, without oxygen, before quickly returning to the surface.
Sadly, it was during one such record attempt that Mestre lost her life.
The expert diver and marine biologist had been attempting to break the world record for no-limits free diving, which at the time was 160m.
Having made several practice dives near Bayahibe in the Dominican Republic, Mestre was able to reach 171m before having to resurface.
As she did so though, the 28-year-old realised that her air tank was empty leaving her unable to inflate the lift bag and carry her to the surface.
Though she was helped by a rescue diver and her husband scrambled to save her, Mestre remained in the water for over eight minutes before being pronounced dead.
The dive has been heavily criticised for not meeting safety standards and Ferreras has been the subject of several documentaries about the accident, including one by ESPN.
This latest film by Netflix has characters who are eerily similar to the couple, and even has a photograph of Mestre with an account of her death at the end of the film.
Despite this, there is a disclaimer saying that the film is a ‘work of fiction’.
It also centres around the fictional couple, Roxane Aubrey and Pascal Gautier, with the husband being depicted as abusive and plotting his wife’s murder.
Writer-director David M. Rosenthal explained the similarities in a recent interview, telling Variety: “This is a fictionalization of stories that were very much on the public eye — from documentaries to many articles and books about this.”
However, this hasn’t stopped Netflix being sued by the former diver for defamation, with documents being submitted in LA on March 29.
In reaction to the legal drama, Rosenthal told the publication: "What I wrote is fiction, with fictional characters…I’m sure he’s trying to make a buck here by suing Netflix.”
Meanwhile, Ferreras continues to blast the Netflix film.
“I don’t know how people can do something like that,” the diver told Variety. “They turned the story around. They put it the way they wanted. That really hurt me.”
The champion diver has even watched the film, claiming that he ‘suffered’ due to the depictions of domestic abuse and cheating.
“As the movie was going on I started suffering and suffering,” he admitted, continuing: “Everything was very disturbing. Imagine — without knowing — you see a movie that’s about your life and your story with your late wife, and it gets you by surprise.”
Netflix has been contacted for comment.
Topics: Film & TV, True crime, Netflix, Film and TV, Sport