Former NYC Prosecutor Sues Ava DuVernay & Netflix Over ‘When They See Us’

Linda Fairstein claims the program defamed her character.

(AllHipHop News) The award-winning Netflix series When They See Us told the story of The Exonerated Five (formerly known as The Central Park Five). Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, and Korey Wise were wrongfully convicted of the 1989 rape of Trisha Meili.

In When They See Us, director Ava DuVernay depicted police officers and prosecutors involved in the case as manipulative and callous. Linda Fairstein, the former head of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office’s sex crimes unit, is now suing DuVernay, Netflix, and co-writer Attica Locke.

“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,” Fairstein alleges in her lawsuit. 

After the release of When They See Us in 2019, book publishing company E.P. Dutton dropped Fairstein as a client. She was also forced to resign from the Board of Trustees of Vassar College and other organizations following significant public condemnation. #CancelFairstein trended on Twitter.

“Linda Fairstein’s frivolous lawsuit is without merit,” said Netflix in a statement. “We intend to vigorously defend When They See Us and Ava DuVernay and Attica Locke, the incredible team behind the series.”

Matias Reyes eventually confessed he actually raped Meili in Central Park. The convictions of Richardson, Santana, McCray, Salaam, and Wise were vacated in 2002. However, Fairstein continued to deny coercing the then-teenagers to confess to a crime they did not commit. The Exonerated Five were given a $41 million settlement from New York City.