Netflix asks judge to dismiss lawsuit over acclaimed drama When They See Us
Show creator Ava DuVernay was also named in the lawsuit, filed by the company behind a controversial police interrogation technique.
Netflix has asked a US judge to dismiss a lawsuit from the company behind a controversial police interrogation technique featured in the acclaimed drama When They See Us.
John E. Reid and Associates sued the streaming giant and show creator Ava DuVernay after the Reid Technique briefly appeared in an episode.
The company said the scene was misleading and harmful to its reputation. It is seeking damages.
Lawyers acting on behalf of Netflix have now asked a judge in Chicago, Illinois to dismiss the claim.
The streaming company argues the lawsuit is designed to “punish” one side of the debate over “a matter of vital public concern – whether a controversial interrogation technique used by police is susceptible to abuse and can result in wrongful interrogations”.
Netflix says it is protected under the First Amendment, freedom of speech.
The company filed a separate motion to dismiss on behalf of DuVernay.
Emmy Award-winning When They See Us is based on the true story of the so-called Central Park Five, who were wrongly convicted of the rape and assault of a jogger in New York City, partially based on false confessions.
In the show, a New York Police Department detective is confronted with allegations he coerced a confession from one of the men.
“You squeezed statements out of them after 42 hours of questioning and coercing, without food, bathroom breaks, withholding parental supervision,” the character says. “The Reid Technique has been universally rejected.”
The detective, named Michael Sheehan, responds: “I don’t even know what the f****** Reid Technique is, OK? I know what I was taught. I know what I was asked to do and I did it.”
When They See Us arrived on Netflix in May to critical acclaim.
At the Emmy Awards in September it was nominated for 11 gongs, with star Jharrel Jerome winning outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie.