New controversy has arisen over "Richard Jewell," the movie about the real-life security guard falsely suspected of planting a bomb at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
In the film, Olivia Wilde portrays Kathy Scruggs, who was a journalist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution who reported that Jewell was under investigation. The movie suggests that Scruggs had sex with an FBI agent in exchange for information.
But there is no evidence that Scruggs, who died in 2001 at the age of 42, slept with anyone to get the story, Poynter reported.
“I did a ton of research, I really embraced her dynamic, multidimensional nuanced personality,” Wilde told Variety. “She was incredibly dogged and intrepid. She was famous to getting to crime scenes before the police. She was also a woman working in the news in 1996... She’s no longer with us, so I feel a certain amount of responsibility to protect her legacy and tell people: ‘Back off. Don’t reduce her to this one thing.'”
Now the brother of the late Scruggs, is hitting back.
"I am Kathy Scruggs' brother and only remaining member of our immediate family. I find it interesting that during Ms. Wilde's extensive research of Kathy, she did not bother to contact me or any of Kathy’s very close friends," Lewis Scruggs Jr. posted on social media in response to Wilde’s Variety interview.
Scruggs was the first to report that the FBI considered Jewell a suspect.
Meanwhile, lawyers for The Atlanta Journal Constitution, the newspaper for which Kathy Scruggs worked, have written to director Clint Eastwood, calling the movie "defamatory."
“Of course the film's not intended to be a documentary, right? it's intended to recount this dramatic episode. but unfortunately it goes too far in adding details that simply are not true,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution Editor-In-Chief Kevin Riley said. “The worst part about it is that Kathy Scruggs is dead and has no way to defend herself.”
The newspaper wants a statement from the filmmakers "publicly acknowledging that some events were imagined for dramatic purposes."
Warner Brothers says AJC’s claims are “baseless” and notes that the film already has a disclaimer reading, "the film is based on actual historical events. Dialogue and certain events and characters contained in the film were created for the purposes of dramatization."