In 1993, her 2-year-old son was abducted from a shopping center, tortured, and murdered—by two 10-year-old boys. On Tuesday, a film about those two boys was nominated for an Oscar. Now Denise Fergus, the mother of victim James Bulger, says she is "disgusted" over Detainment's nomination for best live action short film, the BBC reports. "It's one thing making a film like this without contacting or getting permission from James [sic] family but another to have a child re-enact the final hours of James's life before he was brutally murdered and making myself and my family have to relive this all over again," Fergus tweeted Tuesday. A petition was started prior to nominations being announced, urging the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences to disqualify the film; as of this writing, more than 95,000 people had signed.
Bulger's murder, which came after Robert Thompson and Jon Venables lured him from the shopping center in England during a moment when his mother was distracted, shocked the world—in part due to the killers' ages. Detainment, from Irish director Vincent Lambe, is based on transcripts of interviews Thompson and Venables gave to police after they were arrested. "I wouldn't expect [James' family] to be comfortable with a film which humanizes the boys [Thompson and Venables]," Lambe told the BBC prior to James' family speaking out, "but I do hope they understand ... the reason the film was made was to try and offer more of an understanding as to how these two 10-year-old boys could have committed such a horrific crime because I think if we don't understand the cause of it, it's likely that something similar will happen again in the future." He later said he regretted not informing Bulger's family before making the film. (Fergus has written a book.)