Clint Eastwood’s newest film, Richard Jewell, has already ignited audiences ahead of its release. Olivia Wilde, who portrays late journalist Kathy Scruggs, turned to Twitter on Thursday in response to controversy that the film implies her character had sex with an FBI agent in exchange for information.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution, where Scruggs served as a reporter before her death in 2001, published an article on Nov. 26 calling for Warner Bros. to issue a disclaimer in front of the film stating that these implications are not true. WB responded in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, issuing a statement affirming “The film is based on a wide range of highly credible source material,” and that “The AJC’s claims are baseless and we will vigorously defend against them.”
The film, which was based on events that befell real-life security guard Richard Jewell, chronicles how the titular character became the FBI’s prime suspect in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics Bombing. A scene depicts Scruggs attempting to trade sex with an FBI agent (played by Jon Hamm) in exchange for information on Jewell’s involvement in the case. Wilde responded with a series of nine tweets defending her portrayal of Scruggs, stating, “As a child of journalists myself, I have deep respect for the essential work of all in their field,” and “The perspective of the fictional dramatization of the story, as I understood it, was that Kathy, and the FBI agent who leaked false information to her, were in a pre-existing romantic relationship, not a transactional exchange of sex for information.”
One of the things I love about directing is the ability to control the voice and message of the film. As an actor, it’s more complicated, and I want to share my perspective on my role in the film “Richard Jewell”.
— olivia wilde (@oliviawilde) December 12, 2019
Neither Eastwood or Warner Bros. has made any additional statements at this time. Richard Jewell is in theaters starting Dec. 13.