Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell film has been accused of sexism and a number of individuals are calling for the film to be boycotted.

Slate journalist Mark Joseph Stern took to Twitter to write:

“Please do not pay to see movies that feature fictional female journalists who sleep with with sources for a story. It’s an egregiously sexist, demeaning, insulting trope and at this stage I don’t see an appropriate response other than a flat-out boycott.”

Stern would not be alone in going after the film. Celeste Headlee, who has been published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Guardian also decried the film.

She wrote on Twitter:


HuffPost reporter Jeffrey Young stated, “The lazy, offensive, shitty way screenwriters so often treat female journalists infuriates me. Depicting women using sex to get stories is disgusting and disrespectful. It’s also hacky as hell. I was planning to see this movie but not anymore.”

Related: Clint Eastwood To Film in Georgia for “The Ballad of Richard Jewel” Despite Hollywood Boycott Against The State

Erin Biba who has appeared in BBC and National Georgraphic stated:

“If you’re such a bad writer that the only way you can think of making a story about a female journalist interesting is to completely defame her character by lying and saying she traded sex for story tips then maybe you should quit your f****** job.”

Mother Jones Editor-in-Chief Clara Jeffery decided to go after both actress Olivia Wilde and director Clint Eastwood.

She wrote:

“Dear Olivia Wilde, you & Eastwood don’t get to make up a completely unethical relationship between female reporter and source and then call complaints about that sexism. That’s top top-shelf gaslighting.”

Bloomberg report Sarah Frier writes:

“It’s infuriating that movies and show so often depict fictional female journalists sleeping with sources to get their stories.

In this movie, they’re portraying a REAL REPORTER doing so, with no evidence, and she’s not alive to defend herself.”

Related: Joker Director Todd Phillips Calls Out “Woke” Hollywood

Globe and Mail reporter Robyn Doolittle indicated she let out a loud scream:

“Pardon me while I SCREAMMMMM “The reporter-sleeps-with-sources trope has been deployed against female journalists before…But this one is based on a real reporter… there’s no evidence she slept with anyone to get the story.”

LA Times reporter Melissa Gomez decried the trope as “sexist.”

She wrote:

“Hollywood has, for a long time, portrayed female journalists as sleeping with sources to do their job. It’s so deeply wrong, yet they continue to do it. Disappointing that they would apply this tired and sexist trope about Kathy Scruggs, a real reporter.”

Molly Knight of The Atheletic L.A. implored her followers to not support the film.

“RICHARD JEWELL portrays the lead female journalist as a woman who slept with sources to get ahead. She’s dead now so she can’t defend her integrity, but she did not do that, This is an incredibly hurtful trope for people like me. Please do not support this movie.”

Related: Director Todd Phillips Describes Joker Critics Slamming The Film for Its Violence as “Bizarre”

Jessica Goldstein, who has written for The New York Times and The Washington Post wants Clint Eastwood “to go back to shouting at chairs.”

She writes:

“the trope that female journalists have sex with sources in order to break stories is a fantasy that exists entirely in the minds of mediocre male screenwriters. can someone please tell clint eastwood to go back to shouting at chairs”

The Atlantic writer Sophie Gilbert claims the trope is “uniquely damaging to real women in the field.”

She writes:

“The slutty female journalist who sleeps with sources is a trope, which makes it boring and lazy, but also uniquely damaging to real women in the field”

As for the actual scene in the film causing these accusations Deadline describes it:

“In the movie, [Jon] Hamm’s Tom Shaw and Scruggs are depicted as close associates. The scene in debate centers on Scruggs cozying up to Shaw in a bar, offering to sleep with him for information on the bombing. Shaw tells Scruggs,“Kathy, you couldn’t f*** it out of them. What makes you think you could f*** it out of me?””

Related: Atlanta Journal-Constitution Threatens Lawsuit Over Portrayal of Media Failings and Behavior in Clint Eastwood’s Upcoming “Richard Jewell” Bio Pic

Many of these comments come after the Atlanta Journal-Constitution hired lawyer Martin D. Singer and demanded Eastwood and Warner Bros. put in a disclaimer indicating they took artistic license about the film’s portrayal of events and characters.

The letter reads:

“The Richard Jewell film falsely portrays the AJC and its personnel as extraordinarily reckless, using unprofessional and highly inappropriate reporting methods, and engaging in constitutional malice by recklessly disregarding information inconsistent with its planned reporting.

“We hereby demand that you immediately issue a statement publicly acknowledging that some events were imagined for dramatic purposes and artistic license and dramatization were used in the film’s portrayal of events and characters. We further demand that you add a prominent disclaimer to the film to that effect.

You therefore proceed to disregard this letter’s demands at your peril.”

Related: Report: Warner Bros. Tells Access Media To Get Lost at Joker Red Carpet

Warner Bros. issued their own statement defending the film:

“The film is based on a wide range of highly credible source material. There is no disputing that Richard Jewell was an innocent man whose reputation and life were shredded by a miscarriage of justice. It is unfortunate and the ultimate irony that the Atlanta Journal Constitution, having been a part of the rush to judgment of Richard Jewell, is now trying to malign our filmmakers and cast. ‘Richard Jewell’ focuses on the real victim, seeks to tell his story, confirm his innocence and restore his name. The AJC’s claims are baseless and we will vigorously defend against them.”

Others responded to Olivia Wilde’s comments where she took issue with the media boiling down Scruggs’ complex character to one scene in a bar.

Wilde told Deadline:

“[Scruggs] 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.”

She added:

“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.”

She continued:

“I think that we are still struggling with allowing for female characters who aren’t entirely quote-unquote likable. 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.”

Wilde then detailed the amount of research she did for the role and praised Scruggs for rising up the ranks of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“I did an extraordinary amount of research about Kathy Scruggs, everything that I could get my hands on I devoured, I spoke to her colleagues, her friends, I spoke to the authors of the recent book about the event, Suspect, I spoke to Billy Ray, I spoke to [Vanity Fair reporter] Marie Brenner, I spoke to everybody I could to get a sense of who this woman was. And then what I discovered was that she was an incredibly intrepid, dogged reporter, a woman in 1996 who rose in the ranks of a newspaper. It’s not a very easy thing to do.”

Richard Jewell hits theaters on December 13, 2019.

What do you make of these accusations? Do you plan on seeing Richard Jewell in theaters?

  • About The Author

    John F. Trent
    Founder and Editor-in-Chief

    John is the Editor-in-Chief here at Bounding Into Comics. He is a massive Washington Capitals fan, lover of history, and likes to dabble in economics and philosophy.