Linda Fairstein Sues Netflix for Defamation in ‘When They See Us’

Linda Fairstein Sues Netflix for Defamation in ‘When They See Us’


The former Manhattan prosecutor Linda Fairstein sued Netflix and the director Ava DuVernay on Wednesday, arguing that she was falsely portrayed as a “racist, unethical villain” pushing for the convictions of 5 black and Latino teenagers in “When They See Us,” a collection about the Central Park Five case.

The lawsuit, submitted in federal court docket in Fort Myers, Fla., came just after the sequence built Ms. Fairstein, a finest-selling criminal offense novelist, the item of public outrage, prompting her to be dropped by her publisher and resign from many outstanding boards.

In the go well with, Ms. Fairstein claims the 4-portion series defamed her in virtually every single scene in the three episodes in which her character appears.

“Most manifestly, the movie sequence falsely portrays Ms. Fairstein as in charge of the investigation and prosecution of the situation towards The Five, which includes the enhancement of the prosecution’s concept of the case,” said Andrew Miltenberg, a law firm for Ms. Fairstein. “In fact, and as in depth in the lawsuit, Ms. Fairstein was liable for neither aspect of the case.”

Netflix rejected Ms. Fairstein’s promises.

“Linda Fairstein’s frivolous lawsuit is with out advantage,” the corporation explained. “We intend to vigorously protect ‘When They See Us’ and Ava DuVernay and Attica Locke, the remarkable team guiding the collection.”

Ms. DuVernay, an Academy Award-nominated director, author and producer, declined to remark on the lawsuit. Ms. Locke, a author and producer of the sequence, who was also named as a defendant, did not respond to an electronic mail.

“When They See Us,” which debuted past Might, centers on the 1989 circumstance of 5 adolescents who were being arrested and convicted in relationship with the rape and assault of a white feminine jogger in Central Park. The scenario arrived to symbolize panic about city criminal offense and racism in the media and in the criminal justice program.

The 5 were being convicted dependent partly on police-coerced confessions, and just about every invested decades in prison ahead of they were being exonerated in 2002 soon after Matias Reyes, a convicted murderer and serial rapist, confessed to the crime. In 2014, they have been awarded a $41 million settlement, nevertheless the Town of New York denied any wrongdoing.

She was dropped by her publisher, Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Random Property, and resigned from the boards of quite a few organizations like Harmless Horizon and the Joyful Heart Basis, which support victims of sexual violence, and Vassar Higher education, her alma mater.

“Ms. Fairstein’s name and vocation — in the law and in literature — have been irreparably destroyed by the defendants’ steps,” Mr. Miltenberg mentioned.

Even before the display debuted, Ms. Fairstein’s track record experienced taken a strike.

In 2018, Secret Writers of The united states, which provides the yearly Edgar Awards, mentioned it would no longer honor her with one of its “Grand Master” awards for literary accomplishment. The business withdrew the award right after New York Metropolis launched internal regulation enforcement files from the Central Park jogger investigation that strengthened the choice to overturn the convictions of the 5 defendants.

Right after the Netflix series commenced streaming, Ms. Fairstein denounced her depiction as “grossly and maliciously inaccurate,” and wrote an op-ed in The Wall Avenue Journal past calendar year professing the collection was entire of “distortions and falsehoods.”

In the lawsuit, she argues that the collection depicts her as a “racist, unethical villain who is determined to jail harmless small children of coloration at any value.”

The match promises the collection falsely showed Ms. Fairstein contacting for a roundup of young black “thugs,” referring to persons of coloration as “animals,” directing detectives to coerce confessions and suppressing DNA proof.



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