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'Richard Jewell' Writer Defends Film Against Threat of a Lawsuit

'Richard Jewell' Writer Defends Film Against Threat of a Lawsuit

Billy Ray, the writer of the new movie Richard Jewell, is speaking out to defend the film against the threat of a lawsuit from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The movie follows the story of security guard Richard Jewell, who was the prime suspect in the FBI’s investigation of the 1996 Atlanta bombing during the Olympics, even though he was really a hero for discovering the bomb and moving bystanders away.

AJC journalist Kathy Scruggs, played in the movie by Olivia Wilde, was the person who broke the story and the movie is making headlines for alleging that she “traded sex for tips” in the story.

“It is highly ironic that a film purporting to tell a tragic story of how the reputation of an FBI suspect was grievously tarnished appears bent on a path to severely tarnish the reputation of the AJC, a newspaper with a respected 150-year-old publishing legacy,” the AJC‘s lawyer said in a statement.

Click inside to read the statement released by the movie’s screenwriter…

Billy is speaking out in response to the threat of a defamation lawsuit from the AJC.

“This movie is about a hero whose life was completely destroyed by myths created by the FBI and the media, specifically the AJC. The AJC hung Richard Jewell, in public,” Billy said in a statement to Deadline.

“They editorialized wildly and printed assumptions as facts. They compared him to noted mass murderer Wayne Williams. And this was after he had saved hundreds of lives. Now a movie comes along 23 years later, a perfect chance for the AJC to atone for what they did to Richard and to admit to their misdeeds. And what do they decide to do? They launch a distraction campaign. They deflect and distort. They focus solely on one single minute in a movie that’s 129 minutes long, opting to challenge one assertion in the movie rather than accepting their own role in destroying the life of a good man. The movie isn’t about Kathy Scruggs; it’s about the heroism and hounding of Richard Jewell, and what rushed reporting can do to an innocent man. And by the way, I will stand by every word and assertion in the script,” he said.

READ MORE: Olivia Wilde Responds to Controversy Over Her ‘Richard Jewell’ Character, Explains Her Views

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Photos: Warner Bros
Posted to: Movies, Richard Jewell

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