Sometimes life comes at you fast or — in the case of former prosecutor-turned-author Linda Fairstein — decades later, with Fairstein facing the latest comeuppance as a result of backlash since a revisting of her handling of the prosecution of five black and brown boys in New York’s infamous 1989 Central Park jogger rape case.
Fairstein, who’s become a best-selling author in the decades since she left the Manhattan district attorney’s office in New York City, was dropped by her publisher, Dutton, The Guardian reports.
Dutton’s decision comes amid the harsh criticism Fairstein has faced since the release of director Ava DuVernay’s miniseries When They See Us, which is about the treatment of the boys — all of whom were exonerated after spending years in prison — by the NYPD and Fairstein’s unit in the DA’s office.
Fairstein has called the depiction of her actions and that of her unit “a basket of lies,” but her publisher’s decision is latest fallout for the now crime novelist, with The Guardian noting:
Fairstein had already resigned from at least two not-for-profit boards as backlash intensified and a #CancelLindaFairstein movement spread on social media.
Last year, the Mystery Writers of America took the rare step of withdrawing a lifetime achievement after other authors protested, citing Fairstein’s role in the Central Park case.
Fairstein was Manhattan’s chief sex crimes prosecutor at the time of the brutal attack on a white female jogger in New York’s iconic Central Park. She oversaw the prosecution of five black and Latin teenagers in a case that roiled the city along racial lines.
Donald Trump, then just a wealthy, New York real estate developer, took out full-page newspaper ads calling for the boys to be put to death.
The boys said the confessions police got out of them after hours of interrogation were coerced, and they maintained their innocence despite being convicted and imprisoned for years.
It was not until 2002 that their convictions were overturned, and a serial rapist named Matias Reyes, whose DNA was found to match evidence from the investigation, confessed to raping the jogger and doing so alone.
Since the miniseries’ release the hashtag #CancelLindaFairstein has trended on social media, with online petitions calling for booksellers to pull her novels and for her publishers to sever ties.
At least one of the Central Park Five, Raymond Santana, has expressed support for the boycotting of Fairstein, telling TMZ:
“Even if it’s 30 years later, she has to pay for her crime.”
Looks like what’s begun is all that and then some.