Lawyer turned author Linda Fairstein resigned from her position on the board of Safe Horizon, the country’s largest victim services non-profit organization.
Fairstein’s resignation comes after the former prosecutor received backlash for the role she played in the infamous 1989 Central Park Five trial that led to the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of five teenage boys.
Award-winning director, Ava DuVernay recent Netflix miniseries When They See Us depicts Fairstein racially profiling and coercing confessions from the five boys accused of raping a jogger which resulted in the lives of five innocent boys to forever be changed.
Fairstein went on to become a profitable crime novelist following the trail. However, since the release of Netflix’s dramatization, the focus has shifted more so to Fairstein’s role in the case and several petitions have been made calling for a boycott of Fairstein’s novels.
Safe Horizon confirmed to Variety that Fairstein had stepped down from its board, and issued a statement thanking her for her work and reiterating that its “top priority had been empowering victims and survivors.”
A separate petition started just several days ago, called for Fairstein’s resignation from the Vassar board.
More than 30,000 push Amazon and other book retailers to #CancelLindaFairstein for her role in prosecuting the Central Park Five and sending innocent teenagers to jail https://t.co/667kcNC2GV
Vassar College president Elizabeth Bradley released a statement stating, “I am told that Ms. Fairstein felt that, given the recent widespread debate over her role in the Central Park case, she believed that her continuing as a Board member would be harmful to Vassar.”
“The events of the last few days have underscored how the history of racial and ethnic tensions in this country continues to deeply influence us today, and in ways that change over time,” Bradley said. “As I have received many emails and phone calls from people who have expressed a broad range of views on this issue, I am reminded of William Faulkner’s quote: ‘The past is never dead. It’s not even past.’”
With the hashtag #CancelLindaFairstein increasingly gaining traction on Twitter, one thing can be said, Ava DuVernay does nothing without intention.
Her skill of storytelling especially that of the black community is like no other and the praise goes far beyond streaming numbers. Ava’s projects greatly impact all those who consume it and creates almost an instant chain of reaction; a nonverbal call to action some may say.
Her films cause people to ask more questions and bring awareness on matters such as race and injustice in America. Ava continues to prove herself to be necessary to the culture.