Claim: “the film series falsely portrays Ms. Fairstein as in charge of the investigation and prosecution of the case”
Linda Fairstein was the Manhattan sex crimes prosecutor in the 1980’s when a woman was attacked in Central Park. She claims that a documentary about the case released last year is full of falsehoods, and now she is suing Netflix.
The documentary has had an extremely negative effect on Fairstein’s career.
I wrote about this back in June of 2019:
A new Netflix series called “When They See Us” debuted this weekend and paints Fairstein in a very negative light. Now she is being purged at various charities and institutions, and there are attempts to remove her books from stores.
She is a graduate of Vassar College and has just resigned from its board of trustees after a Change.org Petition gained over 15,000 signatures. The office of Vassar College President Elizabeth Bradley released this statement:
Announcement Regarding Trustee Resignation
I am writing to update the Vassar community. I have just learned from the Chair of the Board of Trustees that Linda Fairstein has resigned from the Board, as of today. I am told that Ms. Fairstein felt that, given the recent widespread debate over her role in the Central Park case, she believed that her continuing as a Board member would be harmful to Vassar.
The events of the last few days have underscored how the history of racial and ethnic tensions in this country continue to deeply influence us today, and in ways that change over time. As I have received many emails and phone calls from people who have expressed a broad range of views on this issue, I am reminded of William Faulkner’s quote: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
Michael Braun of USA Today has details on the lawsuit:
Former prosecutor, author Linda Fairstein sues over Central Park 5 series ‘When They See Us’
Former Manhattan prosecutor Linda Fairstein has sued Netflix and film director Ava DuVernay claiming the film production, “When They See Us,” about the Central Park Five case, wrongly showed her as a “racist, unethical villain” who was key in the convictions of the five black and Latino teens involved.
The suit names Netflix and the production’s Emmy-nominated director DuVernay.
Netflix released “When They See Us” on May 31, 2019. Fairstein is a Southwest Florida resident filed the lawsuit in Fort Myers.
Fairstein could not be reached for comment, but Andrew Miltenberg, her attorney, provided a statement.
“Most glaringly, the film series falsely portrays Ms. Fairstein as in charge of the investigation and prosecution of the case against The Five, including the development of the prosecution’s theory of the case. In truth, and as detailed in the lawsuit, Ms. Fairstein was responsible for neither aspect of the case.
Attorney Mark R. Weaver comments on Twitter:
If this goes to trial (defamation cases like this rarely do) it will be interesting to see how many facts from this “documentary” turn out to be false.
— Mark R. Weaver (@MarkRWeaver) March 20, 2020
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