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Sept. 11 families complain about film crew

One relative allowed Penn & Teller crew to enter private room
/ Source: The Associated Press

Some Sept. 11 relatives are angry that another family member allowed film crews to shoot footage in a private mourning room for Penn & Teller’s Showtime television show.

The Family Room was set up at the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.’s offices in 2002 as an interim memorial to those killed in the 2001 terrorist attacks. A sign posted outside the room bans “members of the press” from entering.

In February, a film crew went into the room with family member Anthony Gardner. Gardner said Monday he wanted to show the producers a photo of his brother Harvey.

Some footage appeared in the comedy-and-magic duo’s “Penn & Teller: Bulls---!” in an episode about rebuilding at ground zero that aired May 1.

The issue was first reported Monday by the New York Post.

A spokesman for Showtime’s series, Frank Marchesini, said Penn & Teller are not journalists and the episode aimed to make sure the Sept. 11 families’ voices are heard.

Jack Lynch, whose son was killed on Sept. 11, said families revere the room.

“That’s a very sacred place to the families ... especially the families who lost loved ones who were never identified,” he said. “There’s no place else to go but there.”

Glenn Alai, a spokesman for Penn & Teller, said the footage amounted to a few seconds of a 30-minute piece and said the entire show was sympathetic to the families.

“We felt that it was very compelling to show,” Alai said.