There are chilling similarities between last week’s deadly fire at Grenfell Tower and scenes from the BBC’s fictional TV series “House of Cards,” which first aired in 1990.
Online users have pointed to a 1993 episode of the political drama, in which a gas explosion kills 72 people in a run-down tower block. In the show, the public blames social injustice and government policy for a lack of protection for the poor.
The UK government has faced similar accusations of neglect after a fire ripped through a 24-storey building in west London last Wednesday, leaving at least 79 missing or presumed dead.
The Grenfell Action Group, a residents’ association, repeatedly warned Kensington and Chelsea council about fire safety issues. But their concerns were “systematically ignored” because the residents “were poor,” a columnist at The Sun argues. The government also resisted calls to install sprinkler systems in tower blocks which could have prevented the blaze.
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s chief of staff even “sat on” a report warning that tower blocks such as Grenfell Tower were vulnerable to deadly fires.
In the episode of “House of Cards,” character Chloe Carmichael can be heard saying: “These are people that have been left to rot, the people who couldn’t afford to buy their council flats, people who couldn’t afford to buy the gas bill. [It was] a disaster waiting to happen.”
May’s poor response to the Grenfell Tower fire was also mirrored in this episode of “House of Cards.” The prime minister was widely criticised last week after she failed to meet with victims of the blaze. In contrast, the Queen and Prince William were pictured hugging and talking to those who lost their homes and loved ones.
Even the smaller details are eerily accurate. The fire started on the fourth floor in both scenarios, for instance.
Vimeo user Al-Jazz wrote alongside the uploaded video: “I am simply struck by how a 25-year old show can so closely resemble today’s reality, with seemingly so few of the issues having been addressed in the interim.”
Watch the clip below: