ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Twentieth Century Fox officials said they have found no evidence actors took American Indian artifacts while filming "Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials" at a private New Mexico ranch.
Chris Petrikin, a spokesman for 20th Century Fox, told The Associated Press that a studio investigation concluded no items were removed from the Diamond Tail Ranch just south of San Felipe Pueblo, despite remarks from the film's star, Dylan O'Brien.
"Twentieth Century Fox and the entire Scorch Trials production have deep respect for the local Native American culture and environment and are sorry that any actions or statements by people involved in the production led to any suggestion that our intentions were anything but deferential or that anything was taken from the area," Petrikin said in a statement late Thursday.
During an appearance on "Live with Kelly and Michael" last month, O'Brien said cast members took artifacts from the private ranch north of Albuquerque, despite warnings not to do so.
"They gave us this big speech when we got there to shoot, and they said, 'Don't take anything. Respect the grounds,'" O'Brien said. "They were very strict about littering and don't take any artifacts like rocks, skulls ... anything like that. And everyone just takes stuff, you know, obviously."
O'Brien, 24, didn't say what was taken, but he said later illnesses were blamed on the artifacts that were removed from the ranch. O'Brien said he also got sick, but it was unclear if he also claimed he stole any items.
After O'Brien's comments, an online petition surfaced which demanded the cast return any American Indian items taken the filming location, and 20th Century Fox launched its own investigation.
Petrikin says the studio has determined no artifacts were removed from the ranch following a two-day probe.
An O'Brien representative did not immediately return an email from The Associated Press.
Diamond Tail Ranch, which sits between the Sandia and San Felipe pueblos, is near the historic Hispanic village of Placitas and an abandoned mining community. Jeep tours of the area bring tourists to the mountainous region where artifacts and petroglyphs can be spotted up close.
Ranch manager Roch Hart said he knew actors had ventured onto areas off limits during filming but hadn't noticed that any items were removed.
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