Clint Eastwood’s latest film has become mired in controversy, and the actress at the heart of the criticism is speaking out to share her view.
“Richard Jewell” tells the true story of the titular security guard who discovered an unattended backpack in the midst of the 1996 summer Olympic Games in Atlanta and was lauded as a hero when he evacuated the area and saved numerous lives. However, Richard Jewell later found himself dragged through the mud when he was named as a suspect in the bombing he helped prevent until ultimately being exonerated.
Olivia Wilde plays Kathy Scruggs, a journalist working on the story (the real Scruggs passed away in 2001). In the film, Scruggs has a sexual relationship with an FBI agent who provides her with confidential information. This has led the film to be criticized for suggesting that Scruggs traded sex for tips, a suggestion the late journalist’s newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has flatly rejected as untrue.
On Thursday, Wilde took to Twitter to address the criticism, insisting that the assumption her character “traded sex for tips” is unfounded, as she played the role with the understanding that Scruggs’ relationship with the agent had existed well before she received any information.
According to Wilde, she does “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 did.”
As Wilde understood it, her character and the FBI agent who leaked the information to her “were in a pre-existing romantic relationship, not a transactional exchange of sex for information.”