Central Park Five prosecutor Linda Fairstein accuses Netflix’s When They See Us of ‘outright fabrication’

She has criticised the show’s depiction of her as an ‘evil mastermind’, arguing it has defamed her

Charley Ross
Tuesday 11 June 2019 16:04 BST
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Louise Thomas

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The prosecutor involved in the trial of the Central Park Five has hit out at Ava Duvernay’s Netflix show When They See Us, deeming the drama “full of distortions and falsehoods as to be an outright fabrication”.

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Linda Fairstein has accused the miniseries’ creator, co-writer and director Duvernay of “an utterly false narrative involving an evil mastermind (me) and the falsely accused (the five)”.

Accusing the show of defaming her character, Fairstein has taken issue with her portrayal as “an overzealous prosecutor and a bigot”.

And when it comes to the five young men – who were investigated on suspiscion of the rape of a female jogger – she has argued that the show “wrongly portrays them as totally innocent”.

Even though the culprit for the crime was eventually convicted, Fairstein insists that the Central Park Five were nonetheless charged at the time with being accomplices due to separate supporting evidence.

She has also argued that there were inaccuracies with the show's timeline and specific events, including how the suspects were treated – how often they were allowed to seek advice or their parents’ company, or use the restroom, for instance – calling these elements in the show “egregious falsehoods”.

The show's representation of NYPD detectives was also dubbed as “incompetent or worse”.

Fairstein reportedly would not consult on the Netflix show, due to the fact that the production team had also chosen to speak to the five men who were accused of rape as part of the case, according to producer Jane Rosenthal.

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