They invented this damaging portrayal, against which Scruggs, unlike Jewell, cannot defend herself, while simultaneously currying sympathy for a man unfairly accused of a crime he didn’t commit.
richard jewell trailer – ‘Richard Jewell’ Is A Story Of Media, Gov’t Bungling Still Fresh Today
Longtime NBC anchor Tom Brokaw issued an apology to Richard Jewell, the security guard who saved lives in the aftermath of the 1996 Atlanta, Georgia, bombing and later became a prime suspect. Take the documentary footage of ailing Muhammad Ali, shakily lighting Atlanta’s Olympic torch, as a perfect symbol. Eastwood reminds us all of our fragile humanity — and a larger, existential view of unfairness, justice, and fate. This late phase of Eastwood’s directorial career is his best because he resists moralistic grandstanding to achieve plainness and depth.
Between 1996 and 1998, Rudolph committed four acts of domestic terrorism in the South. While Eastwood’s film focuses on Rudolph’s attack on the 1996 Summer Olympics, his other bombings targeted abortion clinics in Georgia and Alabama and a lesbian bar in Atlanta called Otherside Lounge. The film leaves out these crucial details.
Early on, investigators knew the timing meant that Jewell couldn’t have been at both places at once and that he wasn’t a lone bomber.” They then trotted out a theory that he had an accomplice. But the tide had turned for Richard Jewell. The public started to believe he wasn’t the terrorist. A couple of months later, Alexander delivered a letter to Martin clearing Jewell of anything to do with the crime.
Eastwood succumbs to a false and sexist Hollywood trope for his biggest roundhouse aimed at the media: Scruggs, who broke the story that law enforcement considered Jewell the leading suspect, gets the story by promising sex to an FBI agent.
Digging deeper, I saw that some in the media called for a boycott over allegations” about the female who broke the story. She, like Jewell, wasn’t around to defend her character, having passed away at age 42 in 2001. The Suspect also describes the improper way Jewell was informed of his Miranda rights and uncovers the source of the initial FBI leak to Scruggs.
Leno delivered a half-hearted apology, calling the moment the greatest week in trailer-park history.” Remarks about Jewell’s weight, his manner of speaking, and the attribution of degrading stereotypes regarding his background seem like things the media would be careful not to indulge in, but sometimes, the rules go out the window.
During the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, a security guard named Richard Jewell discovered a bag containing three pipe bombs at the Centennial Olympic Park. When the bag exploded, more than 100 people were injured and one was killed. Those numbers would have been higher if not for Jewell’s vigilance.
Jewell often speaks with Bryant three times a day. As Jewell searches for a new job, he hangs around Bryant’s office, and he recently studied handwriting analysis at the police academy. He has been offered several security jobs with Georgia companies, but he is hoping he will be hired as a Cobb County deputy. In the meantime, Bryant, Wood, and Grant have become sought-after speakers on the First Amendment.
The sexism controversy notwithstanding, the film’s main target is the FBI and rogue law enforcement. Eastwood has ample company on both sides of the political aisle. Many Democrats have never forgiven former FBI director James Comey for his pre-election press conferences about the bureau’s investigation of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. If Democrats blame the FBI for Clinton’s loss, Republicans have found similar fodder in the Justice Department’s Inspector General report on Russian meddling in the election.
By 10 A.M. he was back at the Jewells’ apartment, studying a search warrant that had been delivered that day. The F.B.I., Jewell recalled, said that he could not be inside the apartment during the search. Bryant called F.B.I. headquarters: “What the hell is this? Why can’t he be there?” Within an hour, at least 40 members of the F.B.I. had arrived, with dogs. “There was a physical-evidence team. There was a scientific team. There was a team for the bomb-squad people, and then the A.T.F. They all had different-color shirts. Light blue for bombs, dark blue for evidence protection, red and yellow.” Bryant could not believe what he was seeing. “This is like damn Six Flags over Georgia,” he told them.
But a lot of that was still novel in 1996, when Richard Jewell was wrongly accused of planting a bomb at the Atlanta Summer Olympics. Spotlighted in a new book The Suspect: An Olympic Bombing, the FBI, the Media, and Richard Jewell, the Man Caught in the Middle (Abrams Press) by Kevin Salwen and Kent Alexander, and in Clint Eastwood’s movie Richard Jewell, Jewell’s story is a cautionary tale of rush to judgment.
Suddenly, this thirtysomething misfit who lives with his loyal mom Bobi (a terrific Kathy Bates , just named the year’s Best Supporting Actress by the National Board of Review) is hailed as a conquering hero by the press and the public. His 15 minutes of fame actually stretches to three days. After that, word leaks out that the FBI, repped by agent Tom Shaw (Jon Hamm), is sniffing around Jewell’s apartment and gun collection. Worse, he’s pegging the security guard as the prime suspect, fitting the bureau’s profile for the kind of fake hero who’d stage the whole bomb thing for a shot at the spotlight and a maybe job as a real cop.
Shaw is approached by journalist Kathy Scruggs of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. In exchange for sex, Shaw reveals that Jewell is under FBI suspicion. The Constitution publishes Scruggs’ story on the front page, disclosing the FBI’s interest in Jewell as a possible suspect. Scruggs makes particular note of Jewell’s physique, the fact he lives with his mother, and work history to reassure herself that he fits the FBI’s profile. The story quickly becomes international news.
Unfortunately for Jewell, though his name was cleared in the legal system, his life was forever changed following his very public trial, and he spent the remainder of his days trying to get a semblance of his good name back. He and his lawyer, Watson Bryant, sued NBC, CNN, the New York Post, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for libel; the first three news outlets settled out of court, but the AJC fought back against Jewell’s suit, and it was eventually dismissed by the Georgia Court of Appeals in late 2007.
Since the Olympics, Jewell worked in various law enforcement jobs, including as a police officer in Pendergrass, Georgia, where his partner was fatally shot in 2004 during a pursuit of a suspect. Jewell said he was honored by the city, which is 49 miles (78 kilometers) northeast of Atlanta, for his bravery during the chase. As recently as last year, Jewell was working as a sheriff’s deputy in west Georgia. He also gave speeches to college journalism classes about his experience with the media.
Richard Jewell ‘s true story begins in 1986 when Jewell worked as a supply clerk. He moved up to campus security at Piedmont College but got a little overzealous. He’d enter students’ rooms on suspicion of drugs or alcohol. Richard Jewell (Paul Walter Hauser) acted swiftly in Centennial Park during the domestic terrorism attack.
Eastwood’s movie, simply called Richard Jewell, is less faithful to the truth. His film floats theories uncharitable to Kathy Scruggs, the Journal-Constitution reporter who wrote the initial story saying Jewell was being investigated in the bombing. Incredibly, the FBI had not interviewed Jewell at that stage.
Suderman strangely calls this a conservative” move, yet more accurately calls libertarian Eastwood a non-liberal filmmaker”; thus, contradicting himself unless one assumes libertarians would make conservative films. I attribute this to his TDS (which has infected some of the Reason writers). A typical conservative” movie, wouldn’t throw this kind of light on the government, and instead it would be a government victory of some sort. E.G., Clint might have celebrated and focused on those that exposed corrupt elements in the MSM and government; thus, vindicating Jewell such as US attorney Kent Alexander who sent Jewell a letter formerly clearing him.
However, it wasn’t until 2005 that Richard Jewell’s name was completely cleared. It was then that the real bomber, Eric Rudolph, released a statement that described his political motivation for the bombing. His intention was to embarrass the U.S. government on a world stage and either force the cancellation of the games, or at least keep people away from the venues and eat into the money that the U.S. had invested. He described it as being punishment for the U.S. government’s sanctioning of abortion on demand.
Rudolph’s name is mentioned near the end of Richard Jewell,” Clint Eastwood’s new film about the aftermath of the Atlanta bombing. The movie, based on a book by Kent Alexander and Kevin Salwen, The Suspect,” and a Vanity Fair article by Marie Brenner, isn’t about the bomber, but rather about the security guard who found a backpack full of explosives and shrapnel under a bench and sounded the alarm. Nonetheless, the specter of domestic right-wing terrorism haunts the movie, an unseen and unnamed evil tearing at the bright fabric of American optimism.
In real life, Scruggs did break the story , along with colleagues at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. And that story was accurate: the FBI was investigating Jewell in connection with the case. It was also newsworthy, given that Jewell was already a national hero.
Clint Eastwood’s take on the frenzied aftermath of the Olympic Park bombing is flawed and fascinating. On the evening of July 26, 1996, thousands of people were in Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park for a concert. Sometime after midnight, Jewell discovered a U.S. military field pack that contained three pipe bombs.
Clint Eastwood’s film Richard Jewell is out and, as a piece that is critical of journalists, it generated discussion before the first ticket was even sold. Clint Eastwood turns the saga of the Atlanta bombing suspect into a cautionary tale for an already paranoid age.
I’m using the actor’s name here instead of that the character she’s playing to highlight the movie’s fundamental unfairness: Scruggs was a real person who died of a prescription drug overdose in 2001, while Hamm’s G-man is a made-up character by the made-up name of Tom Shaw. (The real FBI agent believed to have tipped off Scruggs, Donald Johnson, has also died at a relatively young age in the intervening years, as has Jewell himself.) Had Ray opted to give his reckless reporter — the one he introduces to us an amoral ladder-climber who announces to her boss “I’m getting my breasts done” — an imaginary name too, his artistic license would remain current and valid. But he didn’t, and that act of malice undermines everything of value in Richard Jewell. This film about the smearing of an innocent man is itself a hit piece. And unlike that unfortunate AJC story, it’s an utterly intentional one.
As Salwen and Alexander explain, Jewell was someone easy to caricature. He was an “overweight guy in his early 30s living in his mother’s apartment with a streak of overzealousness,” says Alexander. “He was the unfair target first of FBI profiling and then later the media.” Jay Leno called him the “Una-doofus.” The New York Post called him a “fat, failed former sheriff’s deputy.” The Suspect describes the libel lawsuits Jewell later brought which settled out of court as well as his 11-year-long case against the AJC, which was the first news outlet to name him as a suspect. Jewell, who died in 2007, ultimately lost the suit.
At first, Jewell was hailed as a hero by the press and a grateful nation. But when the news emerged, first in the local Atlanta Journal-Constitution and then in the national media, that the FBI was investigating Jewell in connection with the bombing — standard procedure, particularly for someone who, like Jewell, fit the profile of a lone bomber” — the story turned into a media circus. Jewell and his mother (with whom he lived, played by Kathy Bates) were hounded by reporters for several months. The FBI searched their home, twice.