Former investigator Linda Fairstein is feeling the heat — again.
Fairstein, a prosecutor-turned-crime novelist and key figure in the wrongful convictions of the Central Park Five, could soon be booted from the not-for-profit organization she’s called home for over 20 years, TMZ reported.
The recently debuted Netflix series “When They See Us,” which sheds new light on the Central Park Five case and its aftermath, has sparked renewed outrage against Fairstein, who was instrumental in coercing the confessions that landed five Black and Latino teens behind bars.
She served as head of the Manhattan DA’s Sex Crimes Unit in 1989 when the teens — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise — were convicted in the brutal rape and assault of a female jogger. All five were exonerated after serial rapist confessed to the crime in 2002, a development backed by DNA evidence.
According to TMZ, Fairstein’s role in the controversial case has staffers at victim-services nonprofit Safe Horizon ready to force her out.
Sources with agency, which aids victims of abuse and sexual assault in New York, told the outlet workers are less-than-happy the former prosecutor was allowed to keep her spot on the board of directors for so long, considering her checkered past. The turmoil reportedly began after a Safe Horizon official that TMZ said was the CEO called a meeting May 21, during which nearly 100 directors were briefed on the Netflix series and Fairstein’s connection to it.
In the drama, the former prosecutor is portrayed by embattled Hollywood actress Felicity Huffman, who plays out Fairstein’s role in getting the five teens to confess, under heavy duress, to a crime they didn’t commit.
For many, the information came as a shock, as several staffers weren’t even aware Fairstein, 71, was on the board, the source told TMZ. Tempers quickly flared as employees pressed the organization’s leadership on why the now–author was allowed on a board that predominately serves Blacks and other racial minorities.
Staffers dubbed Fairstein a “racist” and demanded her immediate firing, however, the CEO said he needed more time to evaluate the situation. The novelist faced similar backlash over the weekend as “When They See Us” viewers bomarded retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble with demands to pull Fairstein’s book collection from their shelves.
The viral hashtag #CancelLindaFairstein also made its rounds on social media, later prompting the children’s book author to shutter her Twitter account.
Raymond Santana, an exoneree in the Central Park Five case, told TMZ he felt Fairstein was finally getting what she deserved, adding: “Even if it’s 30 years later, she has to pay for her crime.”
The outlet reported that many Safe Horizon directors are simply “fed up” and plan to take legal action to force Fairstein out themselves if the CEO fails to do so. It is unknown whether the CEO has the power to remove Fairstein.
Atlanta Black Star reached out to Safe Horizon for comment but haven’t heard back.