“Netflix” faces a defamation lawsuit against a former plaintiff in one of its series

A federal judge said yesterday that Netflix must face a defamation lawsuit brought by former Manhattan District Attorney Linda Feierstein for presenting her character as an immoral, racist, evil woman in the 2019 series "When They See Us," which deals with a notorious rape crime. Known as the Central Park Five Men's Affair.

US District Judge Kevin Castle in Manhattan said Feierstein convincingly alleged that she had been defamed in five scenes, including her withholding evidence, coerced confessions, and ordering racially based arrests of Harlem youths.

"The average viewer can conclude that these scenes have a basis in reality and do not merely reflect the views of the makers of controversial historical events," the judge wrote.

Castell said Feierstein could also file defamation suits against series director Eva DuVernay and writer and producer Attica Luke, as well as conspiracy suits against the three defendants.

Castell dismissed some of the other lawsuits.

"We will continue to vigorously defend 'Win the CS' and its incredible cast, and are confident that we will overcome Ms. Feurstein's few remaining lawsuits," Netflix said in a statement.

Feierstein ran the Manhattan Attorney General's Office of Sex Crimes Unit in April 1989 when a 28-year-old white woman was beaten and raped in Central Park.

Five young men of African or Hispanic origin were convicted in the incident and spent between five and 13 years in prison before being acquitted in 2002 after another man confessed to the crime.

That case remains a focal point of the debate about crime and racism.

After the series premiere, the hashtag "Discard Linda Feyerstein" invited County Feyerstein, then a bestselling crime writer.