‘When They See Us’ hit Netflix on May 31 and has sparked wide discussion about the gaps in the American justice system.
What We Know:
- The four-part limited series created by Ava DuVernay recounts the 1989 case of five New York City teenagers who were wrongfully convicted of beating and raping a woman jogging in Central Park. The teenagers were between ages 14 and 16 when they were accused and coerced into confessing.
- Many people have gone into a frenzy after viewing the mini-series. Some took to Twitter and expressed their gratitude to DuVernay for accurately capturing the story, while others simply expressed their displeasure with the justice system and those involved with the case. It has been said that while the film is heartbreaking, it is necessary to see.
- “What the series makes clear is that the way the boys were perceived during their trials mattered because it was easy for the media circus, or people like Donald Trump, to paint a group of black and brown teenage boys as predators who targeted an innocent white woman,” said Vox. A few Twitter users echoed a similar sentiment about Trump’s role in the case and how the series was released at the perfect time.
- Korey Wise’s episode seems to be the most gut-wrenching part for viewers. Wise went to the station to support his friend, Yusef, but ended up giving a false confession, being tried as an adult and eventually convicted.
- Linda Fairstein, the prosecutor from the case, is receiving backlash on social media. After the case, Fairstein’s career skyrocketed and she became an author. People are calling for a boycott of her books and #CancelLindaFairstein went viral a few days after the premiere of the series. Fairstein has deleted her Twitter account.
Will this series spark temporary change or will it have a lasting impact on the black community?
What I appreciate about #WhenTheySeeUs is the fact the narrative is being handled by a black creative. Is it hard to watch. For many, yes. But if I’m going to see sit through such a harrowing experience, I want to know our stories are being told by black filmmakers.
— X (@XLNB) June 3, 2019
The prosecutor in #WhenTheySeeUs @LindaFairstein is now a multiple time author writing for kids
Anyone with a book deal with this woman need rescind it. Immediately. She destroyed not just the lives of the exonerated 5, but a whole community for decades since
— George M Johnson (@IamGMJohnson) June 3, 2019