Families of 9/11 victims are outraged that a climactic scene involving a greedy hedge-funder in the season finale of Showtime’s “Billions” was filmed at the Ground Zero Memorial.
The May 7 episode shows Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, played by Damian Lewis, in a tense conversation with his confidante Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff) next to the twin reflecting pools in the footprint of the destroyed World Trade Center. A fleet of FBI agents then swoops into the memorial plaza and arrests him on insider-trading charges.
The scene has reignited the debate over whether the site should be off-limits to commercial or entertainment interests. Some families say the sacred burial ground should not be cheapened as a Hollywood backdrop. Others believe the site is a part of the fabric of the city and a symbol of its recovery — and that media access helps ensure its history is never forgotten.
The nearly 4-minute scene was a “disgusting disgrace,” fumed one 9/11 family member.
“It’s outrageous. The 9/11 Memorial and Museum people are out exploiting the dead when [the grounds] should be a place of respect and sanctity,” Sally Regenhard told The Post through tears.
Regenhard plans to file a protest with Showtime executives to voice her displeasure.
Paul Sipos, 76, who lives seven blocks from Ground Zero, said he was “revulsed” by the scene and will no longer watch the show, which follows the trajectory of a ruthless but at times compassionate Wall Street exec whose wife perished on 9/11.
“I was outraged that they [memorial administrators] would do something like that,” Sipos said. “It was shocking.”
“Billions” showrunners did have to obtain a license from both the city and the 9/11 Memorial nonprofit. The memorial charges a $150 application fee, but “additional location and usage fees may apply,” according to its online guidelines.
The city said it issued its permit only after museum officials “sanctioned the shot.”
City Hall spokesman Ben Sarle defended the move.
“The head of the Memorial told us he has received many calls from families who feel that the scene in ‘Billions’ brought attention to the Memorial in a respectful and fitting way,” he said.