If you watched Ava Duvernay’s thought-provoking Netflix limited series When They See Us you were unfortunately introduced to Linda Fairstein. Amid tons of backlash, the former prosecutor turned author resigned from her positions at Vassar College and the board of directors at the God’s Love We Deliver charity and Safe Horizon nonprofit.
Fairstein was head of the sex crimes unit in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office when she pushed for the arrest and subsequent prosecution of five innocent Black teens she accused of raping a white woman in 1989. In When They See Us, Fairstein, who is played by Felicity Huffman is portrayed as a thirsty prosecutor who decided the boys were guilty despite having a flimsy case on them. As expected, she is receiving tons of backlash for her role that saw five innocent young boys at the time stripped of their childhood when they were sent to jail for a crime they did not commit.
Per the New York Daily News:
“She did step down, and we accepted her resignation today,” said Terrence Meck, chairman of the board at God’s Love. “This is an internal letter only, and we are not sharing its contents.”
Vassar College President Elizabeth Bradley, in a statement to the school community, explained that the massive backlash against Fairstein since the airing of the fictionalized Netflix series “When They See Us” led the lawyer to walk away from the college’s board of trustees.
“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,” said Bradley.
Reportedly there were calls for Fairstein to step down from the position on the board of Safe Horizon which a nonprofit based out of New York which aids victims of abuse and violent crimes. A change.org petition which has amassed over 57,000 signatures calling for publishers and booksellers to stop working with her. Before she stepped down from her role with Vassar College, there was a petition that called for her to be removed. She also has shut down all of her social media accounts as well.
Fairstein still defends her role in the case despite the five boys (now men) being exonerated after another man admitted to the rape and was confirmed by DNA evidence. No one should feel sorry for her at all.
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