Actress Olivia Wilde, who plays Kathy Scruggs in the upcoming movie Richard Jewell, waded into the controversy over its portrayal of the late female journalist on Thursday to say she understood her character had a romance with an FBI agent—not a transactional sex-for-tips relationship. “Contrary to a swath of recent headlines, I do not believe that Kathy traded sex for tips,” she tweeted Thursday. “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,” Wilde wrote in a Twitter thread. “The perspective of the fictional dramatization of the story, as I understood it, was that Kathy, and the FBI agent who leaked false information to her, were in a pre-existing romantic relationship, not a transactional exchange of sex for information.” She then went on to say that she could not speak to the “creative decisions” made by the makers of the Warner Brothers flick, but could only share her own thoughts.
Controversy broke out after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked Warner Bros. to put a disclaimer on the movie after the Clint Eastwood film reportedly depicted Scruggs—a real journalist who is now deceased—as a reporter who traded sex for tips. The newspaper noted that there was no evidence that Scruggs ever traded sexual favors for information. A number of journalists spoke out about the matter, calling the film's reported depiction of Scruggs sexist.