When They See Us: Over 110,000 people sign petition to ban Linda Fairstein's books

6 June 2019, 18:25

By Sam Prance

Linda Fairstein is coming under fire for her involvement in the Central Park Five case...

Netflix's When They See Us has inspired over 110,000 people to sign a petition to ban all of Linda Fairstein's books.

Linda Fairstein was the main prosecutor involved in the "Central Park Five" case, which When They See Us is based on. The drama tells the horrifying, true story of Korey Wise, Raymond Santana, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam and Kevin Richardson. In 1989, these men of colour were all wrongfully convicted of raping and assaulting Trisha Meili, a White, female jogger in Central Park, New York. There was no actual evidence to suggest that they did it; they were racially profiled.

You can sign the petition to ban Linda Fairstein's books below.

When They See Us: Linda Fairstein petition to ban her books
When They See Us: Linda Fairstein petition to ban her books. Picture: Netflix // Stephen Lovekin via Getty Images

All five men were exonerated in 2002, after convicted murderer and rapist, Matias Reyes, confessed and was found guilty of the crime. Wise, Santana, McCray, Salaam and Richardson received a settlement of $41 million from New York City in 2014. However, Fairstein never paid any consequences for unjustly convicting them. While Wise, Santana, McCray, Salaam and Richardson grew up in prison, because of Fairstein's racism, she had a successful career change.

Shortly after the original case ended in 1989, Fairstein left prosecution and became a best-selling author of crime novels, all the while, the boys, who she imprisoned, were behind bars for crimes they never committed. Fairstein has written 24 books and won multiple, prestigious awards for them. Since Netflix released When They See Us on May 31, a petition has gone viral asking companies and people to boycott Fairstein's books.


The petition explains in detail how Fairstein wronged these men and explains: "I am starting a petition to ask ALL retailers & book publishers to stop selling Linda Fairstein books or any product that has ties to her". It's currently unclear if any of the retailers and publishers attached to Fairstein are taking the petition seriously but, seeing as it has received over 110,000 signatures, it's certainly possible.

In the wake of the backlash, Fairstein has stepped down from her position as a member on various non-profit boards and Glamour magazine have stripped her of their 1993 Woman of the Year award, stating: "We got it wrong. She received the award in 1993, before the full injustices in this case were brought to light. Though the convictions were later vacated, the damage caused is immeasurable.”

In spite of the fact that Fairstein's case was proved wrong, she continues to claim that she was in the right. Speaking to The New Yorker in 2002, Fairstein said: "[Reyes] completed the assault. I don't think there is a question in the minds of anyone present during the interrogation process that these five men were participants, not only in the other attacks that night but in the attack on the jogger.”

As it stands Fairstein is yet to comment on the petitions against her or When They See Us. However, the series' director Ava DuVernay told the Daily Beast that "Linda Fairstein actually tried to negotiate" with her. "I don’t know if I’ve told anyone this, but she tried to negotiate conditions for her to speak with me, including approvals over the script and some other things."

DuVernay then added: "So you know what my answer was to that, and we didn’t talk."

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