Ava DuVernay’s heartbreaking mini-series When They See Us has caused a lot of outrage since it premiered on Netflix on Friday (May 31), exposing a new generation to the deep injustice of the Central Park Five case.
The explosive four-part series depicts in great detail the so-called Central Park Five being dealt a complete miscarriage of justice, exemplifying the major flaws is the American criminal justice system.
Five Black and brown teenagers — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise — were wrongfully accused of brutally raping a Central Park jogger named Trisha Meili during the late 1980s. If you missed the trailer, it’s below.
The series also reminds people who Linda Fairstein was and her involvement in the case. In 1989, Fairstein was the head of the Manhattan Sex Crimes Unit when Meili was found nearly dead in the Central Park woods. Fairstein went ahead and prosecuted the five men from Harlem, despite a complete lack of physical evidence. The boys’ incarceration robbed them of their childhood while Fairstein went on to become a best-selling author.
Well, Twitter decided to seek a small bit of justice on the boys’ behalf by launching the hashtags #CancelLindaFairstein and #BOYCOTTSIMONSCHUSTER, the latter calling for one of her publishers, Simon & Schuster, to drop the author.
Since the hashtag went viral, Fairstein has cancelled her social media accounts, so she’s at least recognizing the backlash.
Amazingly, to this day, Fairstein stands by the initial verdicts, even though another man confessed to the crime in 2002 and the five men were exonerated. Even Ava DuVernay has weighed in on the boycotts, revealing that Fairstein tried to negotiate her image in the documentary series.
“Linda Fairstein actually tried to negotiate. I don’t know if I’ve told anyone this, but she tried to negotiate conditions for her to speak with me, including approvals over the script,” DuVernay told the Daily Beast. “So you know what my answer was to that — and we didn’t talk.”
Some people have gone even further, pondering why Linda Fairstein isn’t in prison for her roll in the wrongful conviction of the Central Park Five. See some really good points on that score below.
@LindaFairstein should be in jail. I'm so glad her literary honor was rescinded by Edgar awards but she still has a flourishing publishing career. She almost ruined those men's lives.— Babe (@baddestbossbabe) June 3, 2019
With the help of #ballerart, we have found another case of possible framing & wrongful prosecution by @LindaFairstein. We are demanding that Manhattan District Attorney, @CyVanceforDA, re-open her sex crimes convictions and investigate. This woman is a criminal!— Tamika D. Mallory (@TamikaDMallory) June 2, 2019
The prosecutor in #WhenTheySeeUs @LindaFairstein is now a multiple time author writing for kids— George M Johnson (@IamGMJohnson) June 3, 2019
Anyone with a book deal with this woman need rescind it. Immediately. She destroyed not just the lives of the exonerated 5, but a whole community for decades since
Can’t wait to see the world rally together to finally get you up out of here @LindaFairstein. Every dog has its day and today it’s yours. You might as well delete your Twitter now because you can’t block us all. #CentralParkFive #WhenTheySeeUs— Erin Danielle J. 🏁 (@ErinDanielleJ) June 1, 2019
I’ve never seen such demon and evil ever before in my life, this bitch #lindafairstein did EVERYTHING in her power to falsely convict 5 young black men for a crime they did not commit, if you haven’t watched #WhenTheySeeUs please do now!! pic.twitter.com/U88yEqiaFC— itzonlymo (@itzonlymo) June 1, 2019
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images