Wilde de­fends movie’s re­porter char­ac­ter

Orlando Sentinel - - PEOPLE & ARTS -

NEW YORK — Olivia Wilde said she does not be­lieve the real-life jour­nal­ist she plays in the new film “Richard Jewel” “traded sex for tips” de­spite that in­sin­u­a­tion in the movie.

In a se­ries of tweets, Wilde called late At­lanta Jour­nal-Con­sti­tu­tion re­porter Kathy Scruggs bold, smart and fear­less, and the ac­tress re­jected head­lines that sug­gested she thought Scruggs acted im­prop­erly.

Wilde said she un­der­stood the “fic­tional drama­ti­za­tion of the story” to be that Scruggs and the FBI agent who leaked in­for­ma­tion to her were in a “pre­ex­ist­ing ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ship, not a trans­ac­tional ex­change of sex for in­for­ma­tion.”

“She un­for­tu­nately be­came a piece of the mas­sive puz­zle that was re­spon­si­ble for the bru­tal and un­just vil­i­fi­ca­tion of an in­no­cent man, Richard Jewell, and that tragedy is what this film at­tempts to shed light on,” Wilde said.

The Clint East­wood docu­d­rama fo­cuses on Jewell, who was ini­tially hailed as hero for find­ing a bomb at the 1996 Olympics in At­lanta and clear­ing the area of by­standers. One per­son was killed and 111 were in­jured when the bomb ex­ploded.

Jewell likely helped pre­vent many more ca­su­al­ties, but within a few days was re­ported to be the fo­cus of the FBI investigat­ion, and the pub­lic quickly turned on him.

Scruggs, who died in 2001, is shown not just as over­whelm­ingly ar­ro­gant and bit­ter but as a re­porter who seem­ingly sleeps with a source.

The por­trayal of Scruggs has been heav­ily crit­i­cized for per­pet­u­at­ing a false and misog­y­nis­tic view of Scruggs and fe­male jour­nal­ists over­all.


Olivia Wilde plays the late At­lanta Jour­nal-Con­sti­tu­tion re­porter Kathy Scruggs in “Richard Jewell.”

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