The 9/11 Memorial and Museum gave a pair of filmmakers intimate access to its inner workings — and then petulantly demanded unflattering scenes be removed.
The scenes cited in “The Outsider” range from a light-hearted debate on what to sell in the museum gift shop, to deletion of the words “Islamic terrorists” from a draft text tacked on a wall.
The complaints reveal the museum’s desire to guard its image, after giving the filmmakers fly-on-the-wall access to the design and construction of the underground exhibition hall at the World Trade Center site.
“The Outsider,” directed by husband and wife team Steven Rosenbaum and Pamela Yoder, was released Friday on Apple iTunes, Amazon video and Facebook. It revolves around the viewpoint of the museum’s creative director, Michael Shulan, who wrangled with CEO Alice Greenwald on how to convey the meaning of 9/11.
The museum let Rosenbaum and Yoder document its development after the couple donated 500 hours of video they collected on 9/11 and its aftermath. The museum set the condition that it could screen the documentary in advance, mainly for “security” and to eliminate any “disparagement,” Rosenbaum said.
After previewing the film, the museum sent the filmmakers a lengthy list — obtained by The Post — of scenes and dialog it demanded to be deleted, saying some were inaccurate and others included “sensitive material.”
In one scene, curators listen to the harrowing 911 call of a woman trapped on an upper floor of a burning tower, begging for help and crying, “I’m going to die, aren’t I?”
Officials wrote in their list of objections, “We did listen to it to make the decision not to use it. There was a healthy debate and, in the end, the audio was not used.”
The museum also complained that the film juxtaposes video of people jumping from the flaming skyscrapers with staff discussing how to relate that horror in the exhibits.
“It makes it seem like we endorse the use of the footage, which is not true,” officials said. Instead, the museum displays a “dignified, respectful” sequence of stills in an alcove with a warning sign to let visitors decide whether to view them.
In another scene, staffers share laughs as they ponder whether to sell men’s ties in the gift shop. “This will be perceived as the team joking around about a topic they took very seriously,” officials complained.
The segment touches on the furor that erupted when The Post ran a front-page story headlined, “Little Shop of Horror.” Some victims’ kin objected to the merchandising of 9/11 with a myriad of items such as earrings, mugs, mouse pads, stuffed animals, toy fire trucks, tote bags and T-shirts.
The museum wanted the removal of another scene showing a staffer crossing out the words “Islamic terrorists” on a draft text for an exhibit about collective grief.
Officials also bristled at Shulan referring to the “terrible beauty” and “evil genius” of the 9/11 attacks, saying his comments would cause the whole staff “to be held in contempt.”
They objected to a scene in which CEO Greenwald laughs at something while standing in front of a cross formed by steel beams, calling it “out of context and damaging to her reputation.”
Rosenbaum said the filmmakers did not delete any scenes at the museum’s request.
“We think the film accurately and honestly portrays the challenges and complexity of the museum’s development,” he told The Post. “We think that 20 years after 9/11, open discussion about the day and its aftermath is appropriate, especially as we see the terrible images coming out of Afghanistan.”
Asked whether the museum would take any legal action against the filmmakers, a spokeswoman said, “No comment.”