As we reported here, prosecutor-turned-author Linda Fairstein was livid over how her involvement in the infamous Central Park Five case of the late 1980’s was depicted in Netflix’s award-winning mini-series, ‘When They See Us.’
Going on to become one of the streaming giant’s most critically acclaimed and most viewed offerings in its history, the Ava DuVernay-directed venture became so popular it caused Fairstein to be dismissed from a number of college boards, lose book deals, and more.
To combat the bad press, she penned an op-ed in the ‘Wall Street Journal’ to slam her portrayal in ‘When They See Us’ as ‘an outright fabrication’ (as we reported here). Later, the 72-year-old took her complaints to court via a defamation lawsuit – a move’s that now prompted Netflix to clap back (via their legal representatives).
See their statements inside:
In a motion to dismiss the suit filed on Monday (May 18), Netflix lawyers not only argued their characterization of Fairstein was fair and accurate, but also protected under First Amendment rights.
“No less than a dry, abstract expression of opinion, the dramatized dialogue of which Plaintiff complains is protected speech,” Netflix’s attorneys argued. “And here, criticism of Plaintiff’s actions as a powerful public official is at the heart of what the First Amendment protects.”
Specifically responding to her claims the mini-series made her look like a ‘racist,’ the attorneys said:
“Thus, even if the dialogue did not actually reflect Plaintiff’s own words and even if her portrayal could be interpreted to attribute ‘racist motivations’ to her, such statements are protected opinion in the context of this dramatization and its clear point of view,” Netflix argued. “Plaintiff cannot hold Defendants liable for ‘expressing their opinion of’ her actions as a public official who helped lead, and to this day supports, the prosecution against the Five.”
As of time reported, no judgment has been rendered on the motion to dismiss.