Ava DuVernay and Netflix sued over When They See Us

John E. Reid and Associates say that the Central Park Five doco made by DuVernay intentionally misrepresents an interrogation technique.

October 15, 2019
Ava DuVernay and Netflix sued over <i>When They See Us</i> Charley Gallay / Getty Images for Netflix

Deadline has unearthed a new lawsuit filed against Ava DuVernay and Netflix over their Emmy-winning miniseries When They See Us, a dramatisation of the 1989 rape case against five falsely-accused young black men. The lawsuit, filed by John E. Reid and Associates, claims that When They See Us intentionally misrepresents an interrogation technique used on the five men called the Reid technique. In the scene, the Deputy District Attorney played by Famke Janssen reprimands a detective for using the technique on the accused in order to receive confessions, implying that the technique has been discredited; Reid and Associates maintain that the interrogation technique is still in use.


Reid and Associates are demanding damages from DuVernay and Netflix, and are requesting that Netflix removes When They See Us from circulation until the line has been changed. Netflix has declined the latter request. When They See Us was a sensation upon release, with the miniseries leading to calls to reopen cases led by the Central Park Five case's prosecutor. It also led to the resignation of a Columbia professor. Lead actor Jharrel Jerome won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a miniseries for his work on the show. Read the full report at Deadline.

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Ava DuVernay and Netflix sued over When They See Us