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Former Prosecutor Linda Fairstein Is Suing Netflix & Ava DuVernay Over 'When They See Us'

Former prosecutor Linda Fairstein is suing Netflix and Ava DuVernay over When They See Us
March 19, 2020 - 13:30 / Sarah Schulz

Former US Prosecutor, Linda Fairstein is suing Netflix and creator Ava DuVernay over her portrayal in When They See Us. She has filed a lawsuit against both the streaming service and Ava. Get the full story here...

When They See Us premiered on Netflix on May 30, 2019 and now former Prosecutor Linda Fairstein has filed a lawsuit against the streaming platform and creator Ava DuVernay for portraying her as a "racist mastermind" in the series.

When They See Us: Based on Central Park Five Case 

When They See Us is a series on Netflix that is based on the true story of the Central Park Five case where five teenage boys of colour were convicted of a rape they did not commit. Linda Fairstein ran the sex crimes unit at the Manhattan D.A.'s office in 1989 and she was portrayed by actress Felicity Huffman in the four-part limited series.

A production still from Netflix' When They See Us

"In the film series, which Defendants have marketed and promoted as a true story, Defendants depict Ms. Fairstein -- using her true name -- as a racist, unethical villain who is determined to jail innocent children of color at any cost," the lawsuit reads.

Former Prosecutor Linda Fairstein in 2006
 

"Throughout the film series, Ms. Fairstein is portrayed as making statements that she never said, taking actions that she did not take -- many of them racist and unethical, if not unlawful -- in places that she never was on the days and times depicted. On a number of occasions, Ms. Fairstein is portrayed using inflammatory language, referring to young men of color as 'thugs,' 'animals' and 'b*****ds,' that she never used," the suit continues.

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Netflix is in full support of Ava and the series 

Netflix has spoken out in support of DuVernay over the lawsuit and intends to fully stand behind the incredible series and Ava during this time: "Linda Fairstein’s frivolous lawsuit is without merit. We intend to vigorously defend When They See Us and Ava DuVernay and Attica Locke, the incredible team behind the series," they said in a statement to ET. 

You can watch When They See Us now, streaming on Netflix.