'Trials of White Boy Rick' Author Claims New Movie Used His Work 'Without Pay Nor Credit'

The writer behind the popular 2014 story of White Boy Rick that untangled an urban legend claims his work was used without receiving any credit or payment in Sony's new film 'White Boy Rick.'

'White Boy Rick' author calls movie out

Image via Getty/Jim Spellman

'White Boy Rick' author calls movie out

In 2014, the Atavist published a huge article by Evan Hughes titled “The Trials of White Boy Rick.” The piece told the unbelievable story of Rick Wershe, who somehow managed to join the ranks of drug lords in Detroit, before being arrested at 17. Wershe later claimed he turned into an FBI informant at age 14.

Hughes’ article was highly praised for demystifying the legendary White Boy Rick, and shedding light on the facts of a story not widely known until his reporting. Rick’s life easily lends itself to become a major motion picture, which is why Sony and Columbia Pictures made one that opens in theaters this weekend, but Hughes claims they did so using his work “without pay nor credit.”

Because I keep having to explain: I'm not affiliated with the White Boy Rick movie opening Friday. The film used my work without pay nor credit. Actually the story is worse than that sounds! But I'll leave it there for now.

— Evan Hughes (@evanhughes) September 11, 2018

He also noted, "Actually the story is worse than that sounds! But I'll leave it there for now." Expect more tea soon?

The Atavist reportedly brokered a deal with Universal Studios following Hughes’ story, but in 2015, Studio 8 purchased a script titled White Boy Rick, by Logan Miller and Noah Miller, independent of the original article. In the process of creating the new movie starring Matthew McConaughey, Danny Brown, YG, Brian Tyree Henry, and more, it allegedly bypassed Hughes altogether.  

My Atavist story was optioned by Universal—the mag did its job and did it well. This movie is from Sony & cropped up later. As for lawyers, long story there.

— Evan Hughes (@evanhughes) September 11, 2018

Not the issue. Involves the difficulty of owning intellectual property when it consists of facts that exist in the world independent of the story. In other words, yes, all reporting.

— Evan Hughes (@evanhughes) September 11, 2018

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