- Netflix‘s new show “When They See Us” focuses on the real-life Central Park Five case, which saw five young men of colour convicted of a rape they didn’t commit.
- The show takes an unflinching look at the racially-charged trial, and the events leading up to it.
- Now, fans are calling for a boycott of the case’s prosecutor Linda Fairstein, urging booksellers and publishers to remove her titles from their shelves.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
Fans of Netflix’s new drama “When They See Us” have taken to social media to express their outrage and anger with Linda Fairstein, the prosecutor of the infamous Central Park Five case that the show is based on.
“When They See Us,” directed by Ava DuVernay, follows the accused young men as they’re arrested, interrogated, and coerced into confessing to a crime (the near-deadly rape of a jogger) that they didn’t commit.
The show doesn’t hold back when showing the racially-charged dynamics of the trial and the events leading up to it. All five boys were sentenced to five to 15 years in prison, a decision many felt was unfair given their age and apparent lack of culpability in the crime.
Fairstein and her office oversaw the prosecution of the case, and she was later accused of coercing confessions from the five boys in the hours after the rape victim was discovered.
While DNA evidence would later exonerate the men and lead to their release from prison, fans of the Netflix show have been quick to call out Fairstein for her role in the case – and are now urging booksellers, like Amazon, to remove Fairstein’s books from their shelves.
On Twitter, the hashtag #CancelLindaFairstein has been gaining momentum over the past few days.
@simonschuster you better pull all those books off the shelves that you published by that hideous woman named #LindaFairstein. Such an atrocity to human kind. How dare you publish books by such a person, just to make money. #BOYCOTTSIMONSCHUSTER #CancelLindaFairstein
— Davon Clark (@DClark_World) June 2, 2019
— Vanessa (@V_Marie3) June 2, 2019
Linda and the other detectives should be sent to jail themselves. An individual, even if supposedly acting on behalf of the law, should be held accountable. #CancelLindaFairstein and boycott her books. How dare she live lavish after ruining so many lives. #WhenTheySeeUs pic.twitter.com/kkULXcgmFB
— HP (@NetflixMarvel8) June 3, 2019
— Hi_Saditty (@HSaditty) June 4, 2019
— karina???? (@kaarinxo) June 3, 2019
A petition to remove her books from all retailers and book publishers has over 81,000 signatures at the time of this article.
The petition denounces Fairstein’s aggressive approach to prosecuting the boys and highlights her involvement in the Harvey Weinstein lawsuits. Fairstein, a former sex crimes prosecutor,reportedly helped silence some of the cases against Weinstein.
Fairstein has deleted her social media accounts following the uproar. TMZ originally reported on Tuesday that Fairstein’s position on the board of nonprofit Safe Horizon – which primarily serves minority victims of sexual assault and abuse – was in jeopardy, later revealing that she had resigned.
Safe Horizon issued a statement on Tuesday night confirming Fairstein’s resignation.
“After careful consideration, Linda Fairstein has made the difficult decision to resign from the Safe Horizon Board of Directors,” the statement reads in part. The nonprofit goes on to thank Fairstein for “her decades of pioneering work on behalf of victims of sexual assault.”
And Fairstein’s attorney Andrew T. Miltenberg issued a statement to NBC News denouncing Netflix and Ava DuVernay. It reads, in part, “Netflix and Ms. DuVernay are doing a terrible disservice to the public, and should be ashamed by their irresponsibility in failing to properly research the film and effectively compromising its accuracy.”
Fairstein didn’t immediately respond to INSIDER’s request for comment.
This post has been updated to include Fairstein’s resignation from Safe Horizon, as well as Safe Horizon’s statement, and Andrew Miltenberg’s statement to NBC.
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