Mike Smith/NBC(LOS ANGELES) — Richard Jewell is out in theaters now, but it was making headlines long before its theatrical release due to a controversial scene that had journalists crying foul.
The Clint Eastwood-directed film tells the true story of the 1996 Centennial Park bombing where security guard Richard Jewell discovers a backpack containing bombs and evacuates the park — saving countless lives. However, his hero status is revoked when the FBI considers him a prime suspect.
A trial by media is then kick-started by the late Atlanta Journal-Constitution journalist Kathy Scruggs, who is played by Olivia Wilde. The movie seemingly took liberties with Scruggs’ character by alleging she traded sex to obtain the tip regarding the FBI’s investigation into Jewell.
AJC lambasted the creative decision and wrote a letter to Eastwood demanding the movie include a disclaimer about the inaccurate portrayal of their former employee.
Late Thursday, Wilde broke her silence on the growing controversy and tweeted, “I was asked to play the supporting role of Kathy Scruggs, who was, by all accounts, bold, smart, and fearlessly undeterred by the challenge of being a female reporter in the south in the 1990s.”
Wilde then states she is the child of journalists and has a “deep respect” for their field of work before agreeing that “I do not believe that Kathy “traded sex for tips.” Nothing in my research suggested she did so, and it was never my intention to suggest she had.”
The 35-year-old actress then explains she believed “Kathy, and the FBI agent who leaked false information to her, were in a pre-existing romantic relationship” and says she cannot speak for the creative decisions that went into making Richard Jewell.
Wilde concludes by expressing sympathy for Jewell before saying she wanted to make “my own position clear.”
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