Ava DuVernay’s Netflix series, “When They See Us”, has gotten nothing but rave reviews. Watchers have been moved to tears, anger, and activism, as she brilliantly portrays the unfolding of the lives of the five boys wrongly convicted in the Central Park Five case.
However, I don’t think anyone saw it doing this.
Since the show’s premiere last Friday, there has been a call for Linda Fairstein’s resignation. She’s the famous prosecutor-turned-novelist who oversaw the investigation that sent five Black and Latino teenagers to prison.
Albeit almost 30 years after, the Netflix series is just that gripping and conviction sirring that members of the boards she’s on and organizations that she’s apart of have all called for her resignation.
Organizations also asking for her resignation, Safe Horizon and The Joyful Heart Foundation, which aids victims of sexual violence. Not to mention, Vassar College, and her alma mater,
If you didn’t scream and feel literal Anger and pain for those little boys while watching when they see us, you’re not human.
— Toni Tomboy Romiti (@toniromiti) June 6, 2019
Was out of the country when #WhenTheySeeUs dropped so just now watching it. @ava put her foot in this. And it is hard not to wish all the bad things on Linda Fairstein. It shouldn’t have taken this series to get her out the paint. These convictions have been vacated for 17 years.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) June 7, 2019
Thanks to the outrage and #CancelLindaFairstein hashtags, she deleted her social media handles and resigned from all held positions. It’d be hard to understand the blind hate and vicious attacks against Linda if you aren’t aware of the case or seen the documentary.
As one of the first leaders of the Manhattan district attorney’s sex crimes unit at that time, it was she who was responsible for the 1989 case.
Additionally, in the four-part series, Ava makes sure viewers see Ms. Fairstein’s as the lead on the case, urging on a prosecutor who had doubts in the first place and was finding ways to explain away facts that pointed to the teens’ innocence.
A good source of the anger viewers are feeling now is how, even after Matias Reyes confessed in 2002 and the convictions were overturned, Ms. Fairstein continued to write books and serve on important boards.
She’s even doubled down on her stance. In a 2002 interview, she boasted of her oversight in the interrogations of the teens as “the 800-pound-gorilla” in the room. “It was one of the most brilliant police investigations I’ve ever seen,” she said.
Although the boys were awarded $41 million, it doesn’t repair the sociological damage or the future that they were robbed of. Still, there is justice yet to be served on Linda’s part.
In a statement, a lawyer for Ms. Fairstein, Andrew T. Miltenberg, accused Netflix and Ms. DuVernay of “misrepresenting the facts in an inflammatory and inaccurate manner” and threatened to take legal action.
No legal action has been taken yet, and it’s clear there is no regret or remorse what so ever. One could say cancel culture worked out in this scenario, but you can’t help but still wish for a greater redemption.
Only time will tell.