Linda Fairstein, the woman who helped prosecute the now-vindicated Exonerated 5, is suing Netflix and director Ava DuVernay over her portrayal in When They See Us. The Netflix series depicts the story of the young men who were wrongfully accused of raping a woman in Central Park in 1989.
According to TMZ, Fairstein filed a federal suit Wednesday (March 18), claiming she warned DuVernay before her series was released. Fairstein says she was afraid she’d be portrayed in a false and defamatory manner and says DuVernay’s only response was Fairstein didn’t have the right to object before watching When They See Us.
Fairstein claims that after all episodes were released, she is portrayed as a "racist, unethical villain who is determined to jail innocent children of color at any cost."
Fairstein denies taking any of the following actions: unlawfully interrogating unaccompanied minors, calling for a roundup of "young Black" thugs, manipulating the timeline to pin the jogger's rape on the Central Park 5, referring to people of color as animals, directing NYPD detectives to coerce confessions, and suppressing DNA evidence.
A rep for Netflix has since replied to the suit: "Linda Fairstein's frivolous lawsuit is without merit,” the rep said, according to TMZ. “We intend to vigorously defend When They See Us and Ava DuVernay and Attica Locke, the incredible team behind the series."
Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana Jr., Kevin Richardson and Korey Wise were exonerated in 2002 via conclusive DNA evidence proving they weren’t the ones who raped the Central Park jogger in 1989.