- She wrote an op-ed piece for the “Wall Street Journal” criticizing Ava DuVernay and her Netflix series.
- Fairstein calls When They See US an over-dramatized fabrication of what happened back in 1989
Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us tells the emotional tale of the five boys of color who were falsely accused and convicted of rape, assault, and various other crimes. DuVernay’s depiction of the infamous Central Park jogger case—a case that centered around the sexual assault of a young white woman named Trisha Meili—has struck chords with her viewing audience. The result has been an outcry against the New York City prosecutor, Linda Fairstein, who worked the case. As a result, Fairstein has been removed from organizations as well as dropped by her publisher. She’s remained silent amid the objections, but in a new editorial for the Wall Street Journal, Fairstein claims that When They See Us is an over-dramatized fabrication of what happened with the “Central Park Five” boys back in 1989.
According to Fairstein, “Ms. DuVernay’s film attempts to portray me as an overzealous prosecutor and a bigot, the police as incompetent or worse, and the five suspects as innocent of all charges against them. None of this is true.” Fairstein goes on to analyze specifics of the film, including when she arrived at the precinct in one scene that didn’t coincide with the true hour. She mentions that two of the boys in the film were arrested on the street, but in reality that wasn’t true, either. She does say that while the DNA evidence that later showed serial rapist Matais Reyes as the culprit should have exonerated the boys, who were grown men by the time they left prison, she didn’t think they should have had other charges against them erased.
“Mr. Reyes’s confession, DNA match and claim that he acted alone required that the rape charges against the five be vacated,” Fairstein said. “I agreed with that decision, and still do. But the other charges, for crimes against other victims, should not have been vacated. Nothing Mr. Reyes said exonerated these five of those attacks. And there was certainly more than enough evidence to support those convictions of first-degree assault, robbery, riot and other charges.”
Fairstein continues, “It is a wonderful thing that these five men have taken themselves to responsible positions and community respect. That Ms. DuVernay ignored so much of the truth about the gang of 30 and about the suffering of their victims—and that her film includes so many falsehoods—is nonetheless an outrage. Ms. DuVernay does not define me, and her film does not speak the truth.”