Mariska Hargitay Speaks out on Relationship with Central Park Five Prosecutor
Mariska Hargitay said that she hasn’t been in touch with Linda Fairstein since the former “Central Park Five” prosecutor was dropped by her publisher.
In an interview with The Associated Press, the “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” star Mariska Hargitay said that she was not in touch with Linda Fairstein.
“No, I have not talked to her. She did resign from my board,” she said. Fairstein was on the board of ‘Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation’, which assisted survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse.
According to Hargitay, she was introduced to Fairstein by the creator of "Law & Order", Dick Wold. She wrote that she "inspired" the series in an op-ed for USA last year.
“Twenty years ago, while I was still leading what is now known as the Special Victims Unit, I had a call from Dick Wolf, creator of the Law and Order television series. He was in pre-production of a spinoff that he called ‘Law and Order: SVU,’ " the former prosecutor wrote. "He wasn’t asking me to be part of his team, but he was hoping I would spend time with two of his leading actors — Mariska Hargitay and Stephanie March — to explain our work. Not only did I enjoy that opportunity, but it was the start of two friendships I cherish to this day.”
The producer went on to explain how she met Linda for the preparations but hasn’t met her since her departure from the board.
The former NewYork city prosecutor condemned the portrayal of her character in the Netflix adaptation of the Central Five Case, "When They See Us", directed by Ava DuVernay on an op-ed last week in The Wall Street Journal.
The story revolves around the wrongful 1989 conviction of 5 African and Latino Men for assault on a female jogger in Central Park. Having been the head of Manhattan’s sex crimes unit at the time, Fairstein was heavily criticized for her role in the interrogation of the suspects in the case.
The teens stated that their confessions were coerced and their convictions were overturned in 2002 when convicted murderer and serial rapist Matias Reyes confessed to committing the crime alone. The confession was fortified by his DNA.
Fairstein's best-selling book was dropped by Dutton Books after the teens stated that her team coerced their confessions. The exonerated men sued the city of New York for a total of $41 million in 2014.
The "Law & SVU" veteran, who is the co-producer of the documentary "Emmanuel", spoke about Linda when promoting the film. The documentary paints the story of the mass shooting that killed nine black worshippers in Charleston, South Carolina four years ago.