Olivia Wilde Addresses Double Standards In ‘Richard Jewell’ Controversy

Olivia Wilde is one of the first on Team Richard Jewell to speak out about controversies surrounding the film.

The Warner Bros. biographical drama is based on the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing. Security guard Richard Jewell discovered a bomb and alerted authorities, only to later be wrongly accused of having planted it himself.

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There is some controversy over plot details. Particularly, Atlanta Journal-Constitution editor-in-chief Kevin Riley disagrees with a part in the film that sees reporter Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde) sleep with FBI agent Tom Shaw (Jon Hamm) in exchange for a tip.

“There is no evidence that this ever happened,” Riley argued. “If the film portrays this, it’s offensive and deeply troubling in the #MeToo era.”

Warner Bros. has thus far been hush about the criticism but Wilde is speaking out. The actress wonders why all the focus is on Scruggs and not at all on Shaw.

“She was incredibly successful as a cop reporter. She had a very close relationship with the cops and the FBI helping to tell their story, and yes, by all accounts she had relationships with different people in that field,” Wilde told Deadline. “But what I resented was this character being boiled down to one inferred scene and I don’t hear anyone complaining about Jon Hamm’s character as being inferred that he also had a relationship with a reporter. It feels unfair that Kathy has been minimized in this way.

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“I think that we are still struggling with allowing for female characters who aren’t entirely quote-unquote likable,” she continued. “If there’s anything slightly questionable about a female character, we often use that in relation to condemn that character or to condemn the project for allowing for a woman to be impure in a way. It’s a misunderstanding of feminism to assume that all women have to be sexless. I resent the character being minimized to that point.”

Eastwood’s “Richard Jewell” premieres Dec. 13 following its Nov. 20 premiere at AFI Fest.


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