Clint Eastwood's 'Richard Jewell' comes under fire for portraying seasoned reporter as 'sex-trading object'
Olivia Wilde stars as Kathy Scruggs who is depicted in the movie as a reporter using sex to get information from an FBI agent
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has slammed Clint Eastwood for wrongfully portraying an AJC journalist as having sex with a source for information in 'Richard Jewell'. The Eastwood-directed movie could face defamation charges if the demands of the leading newspaper are not met.
A legal letter obtained by Deadline that attorney Marty Singer sent to Warner Bros and Eastwood on behalf of the paper said, "It is highly ironic that a film purporting to tell a tragic story of how the reputation of an FBI suspect was grievously tarnished appears bent on a path to severely tarnish the reputation of the AJC, a newspaper with a respected 150-year-old publishing legacy."
The movie narrates the story of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, where security guard Richard Jewell was wrongfully accused of planting the bomb after he had found it and alerted authorities to evacuate and save lives.
It stars Paul Walter Hauser as Jewell, alongside Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm and Olivia Wilde.
Wilde portrays the role of Kathy Scruggs, the AJC reporter that the movie claims had sex with an FBI agent to get information on the security guard, publishing it first that he was being treated like a suspect.
The real Scruggs passed away in 2001. The paper called the portrayal of Scruggs "extraordinarily reckless, using unprofessional and highly inappropriate reporting methods, and engaging in constitutional malice by recklessly disregarding information inconsistent with its planned reporting."
Attorney Singer said that the "AJC reporter is reduced to a sex-trading object in the film."
The letter also said that while the film depicts the paper as having written about Jewell in a negative light, it claims that it was actually the first to say that the FBI was flawed considering him a suspect.
"If the film portrays this, it's offensive and deeply troubling in the #MeToo era," Kevin Riley, the Editor-in-Chief of the AJC, said.
Wilde had earlier said that she had done "an extraordinary amount of research about Kathy Scruggs" and "everything that I could get my hands on I devoured."
She had said that she spoke to her colleagues, her friends, and the authors of the recent book about the event and many more who could help her get "a sense of who this woman was."
Scruggs' brother, however, has said that he had never been reached out to. "I find it interesting that during Ms. Wilde’s extensive research of Kathy, she did not bother to contact me or any of Kathy's very close friends," he said.