Linda Fairstein, the main prosecutor in the 1989 Central Park jogger case, is taking Netflix and Ava DuVernay to court, alleging they defamed her in the Netflix series about the case, When They See Us. She’s also suing the co-writer, Attica Locke, Variety reports.
Fairstein has alleged that she was misrepresented as the bigoted mastermind who led the prosecution of five black and brown men, who were later exonerated.
“In the film series, which Defendants have marketed and promoted as a true story, Defendants depict Ms. Fairstein—using her true name—as a racist, unethical villain who is determined to jail innocent children of color at any cost,” the suit alleges, per the outlet. The suit also claims that the script was rife with fabricated dialogue that portrayed her as racist.
“Throughout the film series, Ms. Fairstein is portrayed as making statements that she never said, taking actions that she did not take—many of them racist and unethical, if not unlawful—in places that she never was on the days and times depicted,” the suit states. “On a number of occasions, Ms. Fairstein is portrayed using inflammatory language, referring to young men of color as ‘thugs,’ ‘animals’ and ‘bastards,’ that she never used.”
After news of the suit broke, Netflix responded with a statement of its own. “Linda Fairstein’s frivolous lawsuit is without merit," the statement reads. “We intend to vigorously defend ‘When They See Us’ and Ava DuVernay and Attica Locke, the incredible team behind the series.”
It's safe to say that people on social media were not on Fairstein's side.
Following the release of the series, Fairstein faced a number of petitions and revived scrutiny. She later doubled down on her stance by writing an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, where she called the series “so full of distortions and falsehoods as to be an outright fabrication.” News also surfaced that Fairstein didn’t want to work on the series if the accused men were also consulting.
Netflix released When The See Us as a four-part series in May 2019. Fairstein was played by Felicity Huffman.