Olivia Wilde Responds To Backlash Surrounding Her Richard Jewell Character

Richard Jewell Olivia Wilde stunned in front of a bank of pay phones

It wouldn’t be awards season without a controversy or two making the rounds. One of the latest examples of such a hot topic is the discussion surrounding how Atlanta-Journal Constitution reporter Kathy Scruggs, played by Olivia Wilde, was portrayed in Clint Eastwood’s film Richard Jewell.

And in an update surrounding this particular subject, Oliva Wilde has issued a response to the claims made against her depiction. The actor’s remarks begin as follows:

Contrary to a swath of recent headlines, I do not believe that Kathy ‘traded sex for tips’. Nothing in my research suggested she did so, and it was never my intention to suggest she had. That would be an appalling and misogynistic dismissal of the difficult work she 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. I cannot speak for the creative decisions made by the filmmakers, as I did not have a say in how the film was ultimately crafted, but it’s important to me that I share my personal take on the matter.

It was previously made known that The Atlanta-Journal Constitution disapproved of how Kathy Scruggs was shown in the version of events shown in Richard Jewell. In particular, the paper accused director Clint Eastwood’s film of showing Scruggs engaging in a sexual relationship with a law enforcement officer in exchange for details on the investigation into Richard Jewell, who had become a suspect in the Olympic Park bombing.

With the initial discussion now kicked off, Olivia Wilde decided to directly address the backlash herself through a larger thread of tweets that she posted earlier today. A big reason as to why Wilde directly engaged the public in this subject was the fact that, as you’ll see below, she apparently held a different opinion on Kathy Scruggs than the Richard Jewell narrative had. In her words:

My previous comments about female sexuality were lost in translation, so let me be clear: I do not believe sex-positivity and professionalism are mutually exclusive. Kathy Scruggs was a modern, independent woman whose personal life should not detract from her accomplishments. She unfortunately became a piece of the massive puzzle that was responsible for the brutal and unjust vilification of an innocent man, Richard Jewell, and that tragedy is what this film attempts to shed light on. I realize my opinions about Kathy, based on my own independent research, may differ from others involved with the film, but it was important to me to make my own position clear.

Olivia Wilde isn’t the only party expressing their feelings on this matter, as not only is the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and its parent company planning to sue Warner Bros, the studio behind Richard Jewell, the company is claiming one particular aspect of the film puts it in the clear.

According to Deadline, the following disclaimer protects the studio, and by logical extension Olivia Wilde, from any accusations of wrongdoing:

The film is based on actual historical events. Dialogue and certain events and characters contained in the film were created for the purposes of dramatization.

There’s room on either side of the Richard Jewell argument to discuss which side is right. But in all honestly, it’s hard to come down on one side or the other with any definitive nature. Ultimately, Clint Eastwood’s direction of a script by writer Billy Ray is a dramatized version of events that actually took place.

Ultimately, the judgement of whether or not Richard Jewell is faithful to the events of history comes down to two parties: a court of law, should legal proceedings move forward, and the audience that experiences the film. Besides that, “the truth” is just as elusive now as it was when this argument began.

Richard Jewell is in theaters now. Be sure to plan your theatrical visits next year with our 2020 release schedule.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.