Since the premiere of Ava DuVernay’s compelling Netflix series, “When They See Us,” a call to boycott Linda Fairstein has ensued. The hashtag #CancelLindaFairstein quickly became a trending topic across social media platforms and retailers are facing mounting pressure to cut ties with the former New York City prosecutor.
Viewers were appalled by Fairstein’s portrayal in the series, which recounts the gut-wrenching story of the Central Park Five, a group of five African-American and Latinx teens who were unjustly railroaded by New York City law enforcement into serving prison time for a rape that they did not commit. Fairstein, who was the head of the Manhattan Sex Crimes Unit at the time, played a crucial role in the unlawful interrogation, arrest, and prosecution of the boys. Despite a lack of physical evidence tying them to the crime, she utterly convinced that the group was responsible. In 2002, Mattias Reyes confessed to the rape and the men were exonerated, but even then, Fairstein stood by the convictions.
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Here is where the boycott comes in. Since leaving her post at the Manahattan District Attorney’s office in 2002, the 72-year-old has gone on to write a series of mystery novels, which is distributed by major retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. After doing their research, activists began to pressure the retailers to drop the novels from distribution. They have also turned their attention to Fairstein’s publishers Simon & Schuster and Penguin Random House, pressing them to cut ties with her as well.
Raymond Santana, one of the Exonerated Five, is in full support of Fairstein’s cancellation.
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“Even if it’s 30 years later, she has to pay for her crime,” he told TMZ.
So far, the companies have yet to respond to public outcry, but something tells us that it’s only a matter of time. As for Fairstein, her chickens are already coming home to roost. Since the premiere of the series, she has deleted her social media accounts and according to TMZ, a nonprofit organization that she was part of for over 20 years is alleged to be cutting ties with the native New Yorker as we speak.
Interestingly, it seems that Fairstein may have known her cancellation was imminent. In an interview with The Daily Beast, DuVernay revealed that when she reached out to the 72-year-old author while the film was in pre-production, Fairstein demanded script approval.
“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,” Ava shared. “So you know what my answer was to that, and we didn’t talk.”
It’s about time someone makes Farenstein accountable for her horrific actions.
This story was originally posted on madamenoire.com.
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