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Virgin Airlines drops in-flight 9/11 conspiracy movie

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Virgin Airlines has pulled a controversial internet documentary on 9/11 from its in-flight entertainment system after complaints from bloggers and radio shows.

Virgin was going to show this month Loose Change, an 81 minute long documentary which alleges that the 9/11 attacks were not the result of terrorism, but a series of cleverly executed events carried out by the Bush administration. It suggests that American Airlines Flight 77 could not have crashed into the Pentagon, that the actual collapses of WTC 1, 2 and 7 were triggered by explosions, and originally that UA Flight 93 did not terminate in rural Pennsylvania, but landed safely at Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

Although the movie has been thoroughly debunked since, it has been a huge success on the internet, and downloaded by millions of users.

Since Virgin also showed Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore's searing examination of the Bush administration's actions in the wake of the tragic events of 9/11, the company probably decided Loose Change was a logical follow-up, citing freedom of speech as the main incentive.

The announcement in its flight magazine read: “Was 9/11 a government set up? Were the twin towers brought down in a controlled explosion for an insurance payday? These questions and more are posed in this controversial film, seen by millions, derided by many. Now it’s your chance to make up your own mind.”

The idea that a documentary about hijackings may scare already nervous passengers obviously didn't occur to the airline.

However, when the blogosphere learned about Virgins intentions it didn't take long for the critics to respond.

"I thought since that since Virgin Airlines was going to give us a 'chance to make up ‘your’ own minds' with regard to the 9/11 attacks on America, by showing the Loose Change movie in-flight, we all would greatly appreciate seeing the works of Leni Riefenstahl so we could 'make up our minds' about Nazis," someone from California wrote. "And, how about all those wonderful German documentaries from 1939-1945 showing how subhumans are destroying European culture, and how Germania is a bulwark against the Bolshevik hordes and jazz-spouting American apes."

Producer Nick Rizzuto from Andrew Wilkow's Sirius satellite radio show decided to call the Virgin office. After a heated 20 minute conversation where the producer promised them a media firestorm, Virgin finally bowed to its critics. In a statement Virgin Atlantic now says that although viewers have the choice over what to watch on board, they may be offended.

Earlier this year Irish public broadcaster RTE dropped Loose Change from its schedule after similar complaints.

Virgin isn’t exactly lucky these days when it comes to movies. British Airways has airbrushed a scene of arch-rival Sir Richard Branson out of its in-flight James Bond movie "Casino Royale.” Shots of the tail fin of a Virgin plane have also been obscured.®

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