FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Charlotte Norsworthy, SPJ Georgia President
ATLANTA — As the Warner Bros. film “Richard Jewell” hits theaters today, the SPJ Georgia Chapter stands with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in challenging the film’s portrayal of reporter Kathy Scruggs.
Scruggs, who died in 2001, was an accomplished journalist who broke the story that the FBI was investigating security guard Richard Jewell for the bombing in Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 Olympics. Jewell saved countless lives by moving people away from the bomb and was later publicly cleared from the case. Scruggs reported information that was accurate at the time of publishing, and she obtained this information ethically.
The portrayal of Kathy Scruggs in the film as a journalist willing to provide sexual favors for information is incorrect. This depiction portrays harmful stereotypes about female journalists across all platforms and casts a damaging light on those who may break news or get a scoop before male counterparts.
This inaccurate depiction of such behavior does not represent ethical practices of newsgathering and reporting processes used by journalists, such as those outlined in the SPJ Code of Ethics. SPJ Georgia supports the AJC in its commitment to ethical and factual journalism and in the need to denounce damaging depictions of journalistic practices.