'Richard Jewell' Film Receives Legal Demand for False Depiction of Reporter

Clint Eastwood

This scene prompted AJC Editor-in-Chief Kevin Riley to speak out in defense of Scruggs, who died in 2001, and her legacy.

Warner Bros. has released a statement responding to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's demand for a disclaimer saying the late journalist Kathy Scruggs (depicted in the film by Olivia Wilde) didn't sleeping with an Federal Bureau of Investigation source for advice in real life.

The film, directed by Clint Eastwood and now playing in select theaters before opening wide on Friday, tells the true story of Jewell, a security guard who helped prevent the bombing from becoming a greater tragedy, but whose personal life suffered after he was briefly treated as a suspect in the case.

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution and its parent corporation aren't happy with how one of their late reporters is portrayed in the upcoming film "Richard Jewell", which shows Kathy Scruggs using sex to get information from sources. "The (Journal-Constitution's) claims are baseless and we will vigorously defend against them".

Last week, we reported that Olivia Wilde had responded to some of Richard Jewell's criticisms of Clint Eastwood saying that much of the backlash against her character was based on a sexist refusal to accept female characters that are not necessarily meant to be nice.

The newspaper sent a letter to Warner Bros., director Clint Eastwood and screenwriter Billy Ray, outlining its demands. It also requires the studio to issue a public statement admitting that certain aspects of the film "have been devised for dramatic purposes" and adds an "important warning to the film to that effect".


The controversy surrounding Richard Jewell is warming up.

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".

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

The letter also highlights how the AJC played a role in Jewell's ultimate exoneration, noting that it was AJC reporters who uncovered the fact that Jewell couldn't have made the 911 phone call the bomber made because he was several blocks away from the pay phone when the call was placed.

Whereas Mr. Jewell was certainly the F.B.I.'s lead suspect, there was by no means sufficient proof to cost him, he was later cleared, and one other man ultimately confessed. Rudolph was convicted and sentenced to life in 2005.

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