Warner Bros. bosses fire back at Richard Jewell movie defamation claims

Warner Bros. bosses have fired back at defamation claims aimed at Clint Eastwood’s new movie Richard Jewell.The publishers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper have threatened legal action over the upcoming film, which follows the real-life ev…

Warner Bros. bosses have fired back at defamation claims aimed at Clint Eastwood’s new movie Richard Jewell.

The publishers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper have threatened legal action over the upcoming film, which follows the real-life events surrounding the discovery of a bomb at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.

Security guard Jewell, played by Paul Walter Hauser in Eastwood’s movie, saved many lives by evacuating spectators once he discovered the device, but was subsequently vilified by the press who suggested that he planted the explosive in the first place.

Bosses at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution are unhappy with the way their journalists – especially the late Kathy Scruggs, who broke the original story that falsely suggested Jewell was a suspect – are portrayed as “reckless” reporters who use “unprofessional and highly inappropriate reporting methods.”

Lawyer Marty Singer urged studio bosses and director Eastwood on Monday to “immediately issue a statement publicly acknowledging that some events were imagined for dramatic purposes and artistic license and dramatisation were used in the film’s portrayal of events and characters”.

But Warner Bros. executives have slammed allegations that portions of the movie are defamatory, and insisted they would be standing by their portrayal of Richard Jewell, an “innocent man whose reputation and life were shredded by a miscarriage of justice.”

“It is unfortunate and the ultimate irony that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, having been a part of the rush to judgment of Richard Jewell, is now trying to malign our filmmakers and cast,” a statement added.

The film will feature a disclaimer which reads: “The film is based on actual historical events. Dialogue and certain events and characters contained in the film were created for the purposes of dramatisation.”

Richard Jewell will be released in cinemas on 13 December.

© Cover Media

Olivia Wilde defends depiction of journalist character in Richard Jewell

Olivia Wilde has defended the depiction of her journalist character in Clint Eastwood’s new movie Richard Jewell following criticism over the suggestion she slept with a source.The movie is based on the events of the 1996 Summer Olympics bombing in Atl…

Olivia Wilde has defended the depiction of her journalist character in Clint Eastwood’s new movie Richard Jewell following criticism over the suggestion she slept with a source.

The movie is based on the events of the 1996 Summer Olympics bombing in Atlanta, and focuses on the true story of security guard Jewell, played by Paul Walter Hauser, who saved thousands of lives during the incident, but is vilified by the press who falsely report that he was a terrorist.

Wilde portrays Kathy Scruggs, who was a reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and in one scene, her character offers to sleep with FBI agent Tom Shaw, played by Jon Hamm, for information about the bombing. Kevin Riley, the current editor-in-chief of the publication, criticised the film for its portrayal of the late journalist, stating that the suggestion she traded sex for information was “offensive and deeply troubling in the #MeToo era.”

Wilde defended the depiction of Scruggs in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on Monday.

“I have an immense amount of respect for Kathy Scruggs… I feel a certain responsibility to defend her legacy – which has now been, I think unfairly, boiled down to one element of her personality, one inferred moment in the film,” she said.

“I think people have a hard time accepting sexuality in female characters without allowing it to entirely define that character,” the actress continued. “We don’t do that to men, we don’t do that to James Bond – we don’t say James Bond isn’t a real spy because he gets his information sometimes by sleeping with women as sources. This is very specific to female characters, we’ve seen it over and over again, and I think that Kathy Scruggs is an incredibly dynamic, nuanced, dogged, intrepid reporter. By no means was I intending to suggest that as a female reporter, she needed to use her sexuality.”

Richard Jewell is released on 13 December.

© Cover Media