Sexual assault on college campuses is a major problem, and several high profile cases have brought national attention to the crisis and its accompanying administrative cover ups. Not only is on-campus sexual assault widespread—according to a study, 1 in 4 college women will be a victim of a sexual assault—but it’s consistently ignored by college administrations. So Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering made a documentary with the harrowing and apt title The Hunting Ground which CNN is airing tomorrow. In a letter to CNN obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Winston and his legal team threatened legal action against CNN if they air the film, on the grounds that is defamatory.
As a refresher: Winston was accused of rape, was not charged, was the beneficiary of some remarkably bad (at best) policework, stole some crab legs, showed no self-awareness, and then he and his accuser filed suits against each other.
The Hunting Ground is scheduled to premier tomorrow on CNN, and it features his accuser Erica Kinsman coming forward to speak publicly for the first time since accusing Winston. The film is about the crisis as a whole, not just Winston’s case, but his is particularly telling of the power structures in play, so it naturally gets attention. The letter begins:
We are writing to formally caution CNN that the portions of the film ‘The Hunting Ground’ pertaining to Mr. Winston are false and defamatory to Mr. Winston. We urge CNN to reconsider the reckless decision to proceed with the broadcast of this deeply-flawed documentary in the face of the overwhelming evidence the film’s producers consciously and intentionally failed to adhere to any accepted journalistic standards.
The documentary initially aired at Sundance in January before a brief theatrical run. Florida State has also asked CNN not to air the film, as have law professors at Harvard. The full letter is below.
Photo via AP