Director Ava Duvernay recently revealed that Linda Fairstein, the lead prosecutor in the Central Park Five case, tried to “negotiate” her inclusion on the critically-acclaimed Netflix series, which centers on the case, When They See Us.
Fairstein, who is played by Felicity Huffman, helmed the sex crimes unit in the Manhattan district attorney’s office from 1976 until 2002. In the series, Fairstein is portrayed as having a key role in trying to solve Trisha Meili’s case in which she was raped and assaulted in New York City’ Central Park.
Five Black boys were eventually falsely accused and convicted of brutally raping her. After losing their innocence and spending six to 13 years in prison, a serial rapist confessed to the crime, freeing the young men and exonerating them.
Many view Fairstein as having been instrumental in obtaining the boys’ coerced statements of guilt. But when Duvernay reached out to interview her during the scriptwriting process for the series, Fairstein pushed back.
“[She] actually tried to negotiate,” Duvernay told the Daily Beast in a new interview. “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 and some other things.”
“So you know what my answer was to that, and we didn’t talk,” she said.
Fairstein, now a popular author, has been dragged on social media since the series debuted this past weekend. With the hashtag #CancelLindaFairstein now gaining steam,, many are asking leading retailers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble to drop her books.
She is the author of the bestselling Alexandra Cooper series of mystery novels, which are based on Fairstein’s real-life experiences and follows a heroine New York prosecutor.
Raymond Santana, one of the then-teenagers convicted and later exonerated for the crime, said he’s supports the boycott of Fairstein’s books.
“Even if it’s 30 years later, she has to pay for her crime,” he told TMZ.