AceShowbiz - Ava DuVernay's Netflix series "When They See Us" has led to growing calls for cases led by "Central Park Five" prosecutor Linda Fairstein to be reopened.
Fairstein, the former Manhattan District Attorney-turned-crime novellist who led the case against the then teenagers in 1989, is facing a backlash in the wake of the Netflix series, including calls to boycott her books and reexamine convictions.
The show, which stars Michael K. Williams, Felicity Huffman, Niecy Nash, and John Leguizamo, follows the case of five black and Latino children who were wrongfully convicted of assaulting and raping a white female jogger. The defendants, who served between five and 13 years prison, had their sentences vacated in 2002 after an incarcerated rapist named Matias Reyes admitted to committing the crime.
"Took me 3days many pauses & tears to get through this. Like other recent movies this can't go unanswered. Cases need to be reopened, careers reexamined," tweeted New York Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. Women's March co-founders Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour also voiced their support online with the hashtag #ReOpenTheFairsteinCases.
Meanwhile, one of the "Central Park Five", Raymond Santana, told TMZ.com, "Even if it's 30 years later, she has to pay for her crime."
In an interview with The Daily Beast, DuVernay revealed she attempted to interview Fairstein but the ex-prosecutor tried to get script approval.
"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," DuVernay told the news outlet. "So you know what my answer was to that, and we didn't talk."
Fairstein is also reportedly facing scrutiny at the nonprofit organisation she has worked at for nearly 20 years.
According to editors at TMZ, staff at Safe Horizon, which aids minority victims of abuse and violent crime in New York City, are unhappy the former prosecutor has been allowed to remain on the board for so long.