Linda Fairstein Sues Netflix for Defamation in ‘When They See Us’

Penguin Random House, via Associated Press

The former Manhattan prosecutor Linda Fairstein sued Netflix and the director Ava DuVernay on Wednesday, arguing that she was falsely portrayed as a “racist, unethical villain” pushing for the convictions of five black and Latino teenagers in “When They See Us,” a series about the Central Park Five case.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Fort Myers, Fla., came after the series made Ms. Fairstein, a best-selling crime novelist, the object of public outrage, prompting her to be dropped by her publisher and resign from several prominent boards.

In the suit, Ms. Fairstein claims the four-part series defamed her in nearly every scene in the three episodes in which her character appears.

“Most glaringly, the film series falsely portrays Ms. Fairstein as in charge of the investigation and prosecution of the case against The Five, including the development of the prosecution’s theory of the case,” said Andrew Miltenberg, a lawyer for Ms. Fairstein. “In truth, and as detailed in the lawsuit, Ms. Fairstein was responsible for neither aspect of the case.”

Netflix rejected Ms. Fairstein’s claims.

“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.”Ms. DuVernay, an Academy Award-nominated director, writer and producer, declined to comment on the lawsuit. Ms. Locke, a writer and producer of the series, who was also named as a defendant, did not respond to an email.“When They See Us,” which debuted […]

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