Linda Fairstein, the lead prosecutor in the famed Central Park Five jogger case, recently filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against director Ava DuVernay, co-writer Attica Locke and Netflix over her depiction in the stirring film, When They See Us.
Fairstein argues that the movie mischaracterizes her as a racist and fabricated dialogue that never took place, according to a report by Variety.
“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, in a report by Variety.
Fairstein was portrayed by Felicity Huffman in the movie which went on to numerous award nominations and wins for the series’ lead actors, among them Jharrel Jerome and Niecy Nash.
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Fairstein seems intent on arguing her case and even went so far as to write a scathing op-ed against DuVernay in the Wall Street Journal.
“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 continues. “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.”
In response to Fairstein’s suit, Netflix released the following statement saying, “Linda Fairstein’s frivolous lawsuit is without merit. We intend to vigorously defend When They See Us and Ava DuVernay and Attica Locke, the incredible team behind the series.”
DuVernay didn’t respond with a long statement but instead tweeted an interview clip of Korey Wise, one of the Exonerated Five. She captioned the video with a quote from Wise who said, “Every day I’m celebrating life.”
Since the film’s May 2019 release, Fairstein has argued that she was inaccurately represented in the movie, and even went so far as to write an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal heavily criticizing Ava DuVernay and her role as director, citing lack of research and again mischaracterization. Fairstein was head of the Manhattan District Attorney’s sex crimes unit from 1976-2002 and oversaw the prosecution of five Black and brown teenagers from Harlem who was accused of raping and severely beating a white woman jogger.
While the boys who are now men named Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, and Wise, were exonerated and compensated in civil cases filed against the city of New York, the case highlights the dysfunction held within due process and the criminal justice system which can still be seen today.
This article was originally posted on MadameNoire.com