On Monday, a lawsuit was filed against Ava DuVernay and Netflix over their depiction of a police interrogation technique in When They See Us. According to Variety, John E. Reid and Associates filed the lawsuit claiming that their ‘Reid Technique’ was defamed in the mini-series.
Developed in the 1940s, the Reid Technique is apparently the most widely used interrogation technique in the world. However, it has many critics who contend that it can often lead to false confessions, a criticism DuVernay and co took aim at in the fourth episode of the series.
“You squeezed statements out of them after 42 hours of questioning and coercing, without food, bathroom breaks, withholding parental supervision,” one character claims when confronting NYPD detective Michael Sheehan. “The Reid Technique has been universally rejected.”
“I don’t even know what the f—ing Reid Technique is,” Sheehan retorts. “I know what I was taught. I know what I was asked to do and I did it.”
The suit claims that the “Defendants (DuVernay and Netflix) intended to incite an audience reaction against Reid for what occurred in the Central Park Jogger Case and for the coercive interrogation tactics that continue to be used today. Defendants published the statements in When They See Us in an effort to cause condemnation of the Reid Technique.”
The suit is seeking damages, both punitive and actual, for allegedly damaging the company’s reputation. An injunction is also being pursued by the suit to stop Netflix from distributing the series in its current state. The suit is also aiming to force Netflix into forfeiting any profits made from the series.
Netflix and DuVernay have yet to respond publically to the suit.
When They See Us is available right now, exclusively on Netflix.