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Viewers Are Furious At Lawyer Linda Fairstein After Watching 'When They See Us'

Stirring Netflix mini-series When They See Us, which tells the story of the Central Park Five who were wrongly convicted of the brutal rape of a jogger in Central Park in 1989, is seeing people call for the boycott of Linda Fairstein's books.

Ava DuVernay's drama has been met with fresh outrage at the case and the people responsible for seeing five innocent boys, all aged 15 to 16, sent to prison for a crime they did not commit.

Linda Farstein, the Assistant District Attorney and prosecutor on the case, is at the centre of this angst.

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Fairstein oversaw the interrogations that led to four of the five boys - Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise - falsely confess to committing the crime, resulting in long prison sentences.

This was until a man named Matias Reyes confessed to the rape in 2002, with DNA supporting his confession.

Fairstein, who is played by Felicity Huffman in the series, was convinced the boys had committed the crime, despite no physical evidence against them. "All this is happening in the park... and it's not connected?" she says. "They're not witnesses. They're suspects."

Since the case, Fairstein has gone on to have a successful career as a novelist, publishing 20 murder mystery books, something which people are now calling for a boycott of.

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Since the series dropped on Netflix on 31st May, the hashtag #CancelLindaFairstein started trending on Twitter and a change.org petition was launched which has since gained over 34,000 signatures.

The petition reads: "Linda Fairstein achieved her fame & fortune through her wild imagination & at the expense of five INNOCENT children's pain."

Credit: Netflix
Credit: Netflix

It continues: "Linda Fairstein led a witch hunt against five teenage boys even though the physical evidence didn't support her theory she raged on with one goal in mind & that was to get a conviction at any expense even the lives of teenage boys."

It finished with a plead for: "ALL retailers & book publishers to stop selling Linda Fairstein books or any product that has ties to her."

To this day, Fairstein reportedly maintains that the five boys were involved in the rape as accomplices.

Director DuVernay says that she had reached out to Fairstein and other key players in the case for their involvement, and the ex-prosecutor asked for script approval.

"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," DuVernay told Daily Beast.

Credit: Netflix
Credit: Netflix

"Linda Fairstein actually tried to negotiate. 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."

The Central Park Five were all exonerated when Reyes admitted to the crime in 2002. They then filed a civil lawsuit against the city which settled in 2014 for $41 million.

The men, now in their 40s, attended the premiere of When They See Us together.

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Topics: Entertainment, Entertainment News, TV & Film, Netflix

Ciara Sheppard

Ciara is a freelance journalist working for Pretty 52. After graduating from the University of Sussex, Ciara worked as a writer at GLAMOUR Magazine and later as the Assistant Editor of Yahoo Style UK.

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