Culture

Newspaper demands accuracy disclaimer be added to Richard Jewell over reporter's portrayal

Newspaper demands accuracy disclaimer be added to Richard Jewell over reporter's portrayal”

Scruggs broke the story the FBI was investigating Jewell, who initially sounded the alarm about the bomb.

The film tells the story of how security guard Richard Jewell was placed in the spotlight after the Journal-Constitution reported that he was under investigation for the 1996 attack that killed one and injured more than 100.

Monday morning, The Journal-Constitution and its parent company, Cox Communications, sent the studio, Eastwood and several other figures associated with the film a letter threatening legal action unless a disclaimer in the film and a public statement by the studio acknowledged that "some events were imagined for dramatic purposes".

Representatives for Eastwood and Warner Bros. did not immediately return Rolling Stone's request for comment. "The (Journal-Constitution's) claims are baseless and we will vigorously defend against them".

"The Richard Jewell film falsely portrays the AJC and its personnel as extraordinarily reckless, using unprofessional and highly inappropriate reporting methods, and engaging in constitutional malice by recklessly disregarding information inconsistent with its planned reporting". Scruggs, played by Olivia Wilde, revealed the story that suggested that Jewell may have planted the explosive.

The letter referred to Scruggs as "a seasoned reporter who worked proactively within appropriate journalistic bounds", adding, "Such a portrayal makes it appear that the AJC sexually exploited its staff and/or that it facilitated or condoned offering sexual gratification to sources in exchange for stories".

The newspaper's letter labeled this account "false and defamatory" and noted that the 1997 Vanity Fair article on which the film was based never alluded to its happening.

It also claims the film suggests that the AJC relied on questionable sourcing for its stories on Jewell and that it did not fact-check.

Monday evening, Warner Bros. struck back in a statement.

Jewell had discovered the bomb, and subsequently helped evacuate the immediate area.

Richard Jewell has been earning positive reviews from its time on the festival circuit and now boasts an 83% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes ahead of its debut in theaters nationwide on December 13.

Last week, editor-in-chief Kevin Riley released a statement saying that the movie's implication about Scruggs was an "offensive and troubling" accusation with "no evidence that [it] ever happened" in real life, and now the paper is threatening Eastwood and Warner Bros. with defamation lawsuit.



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