Ava DuVernay made a major impact with her Netflix project, When They See Us, but not everyone was a fan of her work.
Former prosecutor Linda Fairstein is suing the award-winning director and the streaming company for the way she was portrayed in the series about the “Central Park Five,” now known as the “Exonerated Five.”
Fairstein, who oversaw the prosecution of the then-teenage youths, filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday alleging she was portrayed as a “racist, unethical villain who is determined to jail innocent children of color at any cost.”
In the lawsuit obtained by TMZ, Fairstein denies she illegally interrogated the unaccompanied minors, referred to Black folks as “animals,” and suppressed DNA evidence among other aspects of the series.
She also insists her career as a crime author was obliterated after the release of the project and claims she was dropped by her publisher, agents, and lost out on speaking engagements. Fairstein says she was forced to resign from her posts on the boards of several non-profits.
Fairstein is suing Netflix, DuVernay and her co-writer, Attica Locke, for defamation. She’s seeking damages and wants an apology. She’s also hoping to force DuVernay to remove the scenes she takes issue with and wants the series to be billed as a “dramatization” instead of a true story.
Netflix isn’t backing down. The streamer issued a statement making it clear they’re ready for a fight.
“Linda Fairstein’s frivolous lawsuit is without merit,” the company said. “We intend to vigorously defend When They See Us and Ava DuVernay and Attica Locke, the incredible team behind the series.”
Looks like Netflix is ready for all the smoke.