20th Century Fox will no longer be developing a biopic on newspaper heiress Patty Hearst. The decision was made after Hearst made a statement condemning Jeffrey Toobin’s novel American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes, and Trial of Patty Hearst, which the film was to be based off as well as the upcoming CNN documentary The Radical Story of Patty Hearst. Logan director James Mangold was already signed on the direct the film with Elle Fanning set to star.
Hearst released the statement via her daughter Lydia Hearst’s spokesperson, saying that she was inspired by Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globes speech and the #MeToo movement to finally voice her thoughts on the upcoming media representations of her. “I am further saddened and appalled that Fox 2000 agreed to finance and produce a movie based on Toobin’s book (with a similarly themed screenplay, also written by men) and that CNN has agreed to continue to perpetuate a one-sided dialogue romanticizing my torture and rape by hosting a podcast and docuseries through Toobin’s distorted lens.”
Hearst is the daughter of famed newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. At the age of 19, she was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army and rescued 19 months later, after she had seemingly joined the group and committed crimes with them. According to Hearst, though, her behavior with the group was a result of brainwashing and force. Regardless, Hearst was convicted for armed robbery and served 22 months in jail.
Although they have not yet commented on the statement, Fox 2000 has pulled the film from development. The CNN documentary, which has chosen to promote their series with a photo of an unknown woman, is still moving ahead.
Read Hearst’s full statement below, courtesy of Deadline:
This past weekend at the Golden Globes so many strong women put together an incredibly moving testimony to the fact that times are changing. I’m so grateful for people like Reese Witherspoon, America Ferrera, and Eva Longoria who have taken a stand for women everywhere. When Oprah gave her acceptance speech it moved so many of us…she said, “[Recy] lived as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men, but their time is up.” That hit home for me more than you can imagine. It’s no secret that I was abducted, raped, and tortured at 19. What followed was a series of events that were the direct result of a child having been destroyed both inside and out.
Over the years I have been approached many times to discuss my ordeal, and I have answered many questions. I have spoken the truth about my experience and even wrote a 499-page book where I lay it all out, as painful as it was to relive. Each time I do, it puts me back in the nightmare which, as you might imagine, is deeply painful. This is why for the last several years, I have declined to answer any more questions. It’s very hard on me, and not something I want my daughters to be reminded of. When approached by Jeffrey Toobin in what could only be construed as an incredibly arrogant and egotistical fashion, he stated in an email that I should talk to him, saying, “you’ve written your own book and given many interviews”, yet he continued with, “It would be in your best interest to talk to me. I’m a high profile writer. This book will get a lot of attention. It will be seen as the last word on the subject.” It was offensive to me that a man would have the audacity to tell a woman that he would have the last word on her trauma. Naturally, I declined his request.
Jeffery Toobin’s unauthorized book, American Heiress, which cites one of my kidnappers as its main source, romanticizes my rape and torture and calls my abduction a “rollicking adventure.” This project is attempting to rewrite history and directly flies in the face of the present #MeToo movement where so much progress is being made in regard to listening, and providing a voice, to those who have suffered abuse. I am further saddened and appalled that Fox 2000 agreed to finance and produce a movie based on Toobin’s book (with a similarly themed screenplay, also written by men) and that CNN has agreed to continue to perpetuate a one-sided dialogue romanticizing my torture and rape by hosting a podcast and docuseries through Toobin’s distorted lens. I refuse to give Jeffrey Toobin, 21st Century Fox, CNN or anyone else involved in these projects about my life the power to make me a victim again, or the power to provide a platform where victim blaming is ok.
As hard as it was to do, I have grown well past the 19-year old me and gone on to become a proud wife, mother, and grandmother. I have no interest in revisiting such a violent and hurtful time in my life. Aren’t we living in a better world than this? I sincerely hope the answer is a resounding “Yes.” I am joyful and inspired by all of the women who have been brave enough to come forward with their truths. I stand with you, I support you, and I applaud you. #ListenToWomen #TIMESUP #MeToo
– Patricia Hearst