After 'When They See Us' Backlash, Central Park 5 Lead Prosecutor Linda Fairstein Resigns From Nonprofit, Board Of Trustees

June 5th 2019

Linda Fairstein, one of the central figures responsible for the wrongful prosecution and incarceration of Korey Wise, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana and Yusef Salaam, known as the Central Park Five, is being held accountable. She’s rapidly being removed from or resigning from her positions on boards, groups and more. Folks have been calling for her removal from several entities and have advised retailers to stop carrying the true crime novels she wrote based on her time as a prosecutor.

This comes as she's taking major heat as the world comes to know about her role in the Central Park Jogger case. Portrayed by Felicity Huffman in Ava DuVernay's critically acclaimed Netflix miniseries, Fairstein, as the head of Manhattan District Attorney Office's sex crimes unit, oversaw the interrogation of the five young boys, which resulted in coerced confessions.

One of the boards she's resigned from is the Vassar College Board of Trustees. She resigned after a petition calling for her removal reached nearly 15,000 signatures.

"I am told that Ms. Fairstein felt that, given the recent widespread debate over her role in the Central Park case, she believed that her continuing as a Board member would be harmful to Vassar," said Vassar College President Elizabeth Bradley said in a statement. The petition, created by Mari Robles, read in part: "As a member of the Vassar community, I do not wish for the college to be formally associated with her. The boys she wrongfully helped imprison are our neighbors, brothers, sons. They are now men that have been robbed of a life."

Fairstein has also resigned the board of directors for nonprofit Safe Horizon. TMZ reports, "We're told the animosity began when the CEO held a meeting on May 21 where nearly 100 directors were informed about the Netflix drama and Fairstein's connection to it...some staffers didn't even know Fairstein was on the board of directors, and when they found out tempers quickly flared. Many questioned why she was allowed on the board of an organization that mostly serves minorities."

DuVernay says she attempted to meet with Fairstein to inform her of the project. "I don’t know if I’ve told anyone this, but she [Fairstein] tried to negotiate conditions for her to speak with me, including approvals over the script and some other things. So you know what my answer was to that, and we didn’t talk," she said.

The powerful Netflix miniseries When They See Us is now streaming.

 

READ MORE:

The Young Actors Of 'When They See Us' On Unpacking Their Material And Stepping Into The Shoes Of The Exonerated Five

Ava DuVernay And The ‘When They See Us’ Cast On Why There Should Be No Hesitation To Watch The Powerful Series

'When They See Us': Ava DuVernay's Netflix Limited Series On The Central Park Five Demands Your Viewing [Review]

 

Photo: Getty Images / Netflix 

 

by Shadow and Act on June 5th 2019

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