Linda Fairstein was head of the sex crimes unit in the Manhattan DA’s office at the time the Central Park jogger case came about. Fairstein, who’s played by Felicity Huffman in When They See Us, was instrumental in seeing Antron McCray, Korey Wise, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam and Raymond Santana convicted for the assault and rape of a jogger on April 19, 1989, despite there being no physical evidence. Since the Netflix series Fairstein has faced plenty of criticism for her part in the case.
Where is Linda Fairstein now? Was she punished for Central Park 5 case?
Fairstein was a figurehead in the prosecution’s cases against all five members of the Central Park Five.
When They See Us viewers witness her portrayal as the stubborn and determined prosecutor keen to send the teenagers to prison, no matter the cost.
Huffman’s portrayal shows Fairstein as ambivalent and uninterested as to the credibility of the boys’ guilt, as long as someone can be convicted for the crime.
After the five teenagers were found guilty, Fairstein continued working in the Manhattan DA’s office until 2002.
In 2002, she retired from her position – this also happened to be the same year the Central Park Five had their convictions vacated following a reinvestigation into the case.
DID THE CENTRAL PARK 5 EVEN KNOW EACH OTHER?
The reinvestigation was prompted by the confession of Matias Reyes, a convicted serial rapist who had come across Wise during their time in prison.
From 2002 onwards, Fairstein went on to become a successful crime novelist.
Fairstein wrote and published a staggering 23 books since stepping down from the DA’s office.
She also took up positions on the boards for a handful of nonprofits, including Safe Horizon – the charity supports victims of domestic abuse.
However, following When They See Us’ release, Fairstein’s career has taken a hit due to the furore and backlash the series created.
WHERE ARE THE CENTRAL PARK 5 NOW?
Fairstein was forced to deactivate all of her social media accounts following a wave of angry trolling from When They See Us viewers.
The hashtag ‘#CancelLindaFairstein’ even began trending in the days after the Netflix series’ premiere.
The author has also found her work taking a hit after a Change.org petition garnered more than 200,00 signatures asking booksellers to stop selling her novels.
The backlash also forced Fairstein to step down from her posts on the board of the nonprofits she worked with.
Fairstein was asked by creator Ava DuVernay to contribute to the series but negotiations fell down due to the amount of control the former prosecutor could have on the series.
WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN ANTRON MCCRAY AND HIS DAD?
However, Fairstein has publicly spoken out about the series and the backlash she’s received in an attempt to get her voice across following her resignation from Safe Horizon.
Fairstein told New York Post: “I do not want to become a lightning rod to inflict damage on this organisation [Safe Horizon], because of those now attacking my record of fighting for social justice for more than 45 years,
She also said When They See Us “depicts me, in a fictionalised version of events, in a grossly and maliciously inaccurate manner.”
In what some may see as an ironic statement, Fairstein told the publication: “I have dedicated my career, and my professional and personal passion, to fighting against injustice.”
When They See Us is available to stream on Netflix now.
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