“When They See Us,” a four-part Netflix miniseries that promised to portray the truth of the Central Park Five, was directed and co-written by Ana DuVernay, who also was originally hired to be director of the recently cancelled ‘New Gods‘ film from Warner Bros.
A woman was brutally raped and battered in Central Park in 1989. Five black and Hispanic teenagers (ages 14 to 16) were convicted after confessing to their role in the rape (hitting the woman and holding her down). They were also found guilty of other assaults they confessed to perpetrating on the same night in Central Park. The film demonstrates that the confessions had been coerced.
When a serial rapist serving a life sentence confessed to raping the jogger, they were all released. He said he acted on his own and that his DNA matched. While there’s still enough of proof that the Central Park Five were not 100% innocent, Ana DuVernay portrayed them as darling little angels in order to frame the System as racist.
Linda Fairstein, the prosecutor in charge of the Central Park Five case, says that DuVernay, Netflix, and When They See Us intentionally defamed her, not only as a racist, but also for framing children for a crime she knew they were not guilty of, in her defamation action. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel dismissed several of Fairstein’s claims, but allowed the lawsuit to proceed because “the show had depicted Fairstein in a way that could be defamatory in five sequences.”
Fairstein said in the lawsuit that she was forced to resign from many groups she had long supported, including Safe Horizon, a New York City-based nonprofit that assists victims of domestic abuse. Fairstein was also the subject of a petition distributed online last year by Vassar College students demanding that the university terminate connections with her. In June, the former prosecutor resigned from the board of trustees at Vassar College.
In a statement released Wednesday, Netflix defended the show, calling Fairstein’s claim “frivolous” and “without substance.” Strangely reminds me of most of DuVarney’s output.