Just a week after the premiere of When They See Us, which reexamines the case of five boys who went to prison for a crime they didn’t commit, prosecutor Linda Fairstein has been dropped by her book publisher.
Fairstein ran Manhattan’s sex crimes unit in 1989 when a jogger was raped in Central Park. She is portrayed in the Netflix series as being immediately convinced of the guilt of teenagers Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, and Korey Wise, though no physical evidence placed them at the scene. The five were exonerated after serial rapist Matias Reyes confessed to the attack—and DNA evidence supported his account.
After three decades as a prosecutor, Fairstein went on to a successful career as a mystery novelist. Her books, about the fictional Manhattan assistant district attorney Alexandra Cooper, landed on the New York Times bestsellers list and were published in 12 languages. Her most recent novel, Blood Oath, came out earlier this year.
On Friday, a Dutton spokesperson confirmed to the Associated Press that the publisher had “terminated its relationship” with Fairstein. In a statement through her spokesperson, Fairstein told the AP that she and her publisher had “decided to terminate their relationship.”
Earlier this week, Fairstein, who is played by Felicity Huffman in the series, stepped down from boards of various nonprofits she’d served on after increasing backlash. The hashtag #CancelLindaFairstein began trending after the premiere of the Netflix series, calling for the novelist’s publisher and book sellers to stop supporting her books. A change.org petition calling for Fairstein to be dropped has more than 120,000 signatures, and the boycott has the support of Salaam and Santana.
“The truth comes out,” Santana told TMZ about the backlash against Fairstein. “Even if it’s 30 years later, she has to pay for her crime.”