“When They See Us”: Central Park 5 Prosecutor Linda Fairstein Tried To Control How She Was Portrayed In Series, Wanted Script Approval

“When They See Us”: Central Park 5 Prosecutor Linda Fairstein Tried To Control How She Was Portrayed In Series, Wanted Script Approval

Though it’s only been available on Netflix for a few days, director Ava DuVernay’s latest project the four-part limited series When They See Us, is already at the top of many lists for one of the best projects of the year. Audiences have taken to social media, discussing the intensely emotional project that tells the story of the Central Park Five. However, DuVernay recently revealed that she attempted to get lead prosecutor Linda Fairstein’s take on what happened—but that attempt quickly went left due to Fairstein demands.

If you’ve already watched When They See Us, you’re familiar with the case’s lead prosecutor Linda Fairstein, who led the charge to accuse the rape of Trisha Meili on five young teenage boys of color.

While working on the project, DuVernay explained that she attempted to reach out to those on the other side of the case, Meili, prosecutor Elizabeth Lederer, detective Mike Sheehan and of course, Fairstein.

She didn’t go into detail about the response of the others, but she did state that she never ended up speaking with Fairstein due to her demands—specifically script approval: DuVernay explained:

“Yes, I reached out to Ms. Meili, I reached out to Ms. Fairstein, I reached out to Ms. Lederer, I reached out to Mr. Sheehan—a lot of the key figures on the other side. I informed them that I was making the film, that they would be included, and invited them to sit with me and talk with me so that they could share their point of view and their side of things so that I could have that information as I wrote the script with my co-writers.”

She continued, adding:

“Linda Fairstein actually tried to negotiate. 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.”

Fairstein might have gone on to be a successful crime novelist since the Central Park Five case, but she still has no regret, remorse or changed opinion regarding her perceived guilt of the young men involved: Korey Wise, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, Yusef Salaam and Kevin Richardson. All five of them were exonerated of the crime when Matias Reyes confessed, leading to the men suing the city of New York and being awarded $41 million in 2014.


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In the last few days, Fairstein has faced an online backlash so severe that she has disabled both her Twitter and her Instagram pages, there is also a boycott calling for the banning of all her books.

You can check out photos from the film BELOW:

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!

Authored by: Danielle Jennings