Despite its 1980s setting, the specter of current politics hangs over Netflix's Central Park Five miniseries "When They See Us."?
"They need to keep that bigot off TV, that's what they need to do," mother Sharon Salaam (Aunjanue Ellis) says while watching an?interview with future president Donald Trump, in which he tells NBC's Bryant Gumbel that he would "love to be a well-educated black."?
"Don't worry about it," her friend responds. "His 15 minutes (are) almost up."?
It's an eerily prescient exchange that's sure to spark conversation?among viewers of Ava DuVernay's new four-part drama, streaming Friday, which follows a group of?black and Hispanic?teenagers who were convicted (and later exonerated)?in connection with the 1989 rape of jogger?Trisha Meili, a 28-year-old white investment banker.?
At the time of the brutal assault, Trump was a high-powered New York real-estate mogul adamant about cracking down on crime. Although no DNA evidence connected the boys, aged 14 to 16, to the attack, that didn't stop Trump from spending $85,000 on full-page ads in four city newspapers, calling for their executions.?
"BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY. BRING BACK OUR POLICE,” read the alarming ads, which Trump accompanied with a first-person article.?"I want to hate these murderers and I always will. I am not looking to psychoanalyze or understand them, I am looking to punish them."?
This is the full-page advertisement Donald Trump took out calling for the execution of the Central Park Five.
They were later exonerated by DNA evidence, although President Trump maintains that they are guilty. pic.twitter.com/vspZemnW93— Scott Bixby (@scottbix) February 10, 2018
The papers, along with news footage of Trump, are?shown throughout the second episode of "When They See Us," although DuVernay made a deliberate choice to keep his presence to a minimum.?
"It was a big question for me going into it," she says. "There's a world in?which I actually cast an actor to be (Trump) and get into that piece of it, but this story is about the accused boys who became exonerated men. So the decision was to just have him in as needed and to let him?speak for himself through clips, which we use very judiciously.?I found that whatever he had to say wasn't as?fascinating or interesting to me as what the men had to say."
The boys –?Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise?– were cleared as adults in 2002 after convicted murder Matias Reyes confessed to raping Meili, which was confirmed by DNA evidence. The city awarded the men $41 million in 2014 but Trump continued to insist they were guilty, and called the settlement "a disgrace" in an op-ed for the New York Daily News.?
Given Trump's history of racist remarks, DuVernay isn't surprised that people have forgotten –?or have chosen to overlook –?his overzealous involvement in the Central Park Five case.
"There's unfortunately not much that shocks me anymore when it has to do with him, and I think that's why I didn't use it for shock value at all in the (series)," DuVernay says. "It's just a matter of fact of all of our lives at this point, and we have to move on from there and stop feigning horror at the things that are being said and done in his name and by him."?
Related video: 10 new TV shows you need to watch this summer:
- J.J. Abrams opens up about Carrie Fisher's scenes in next 'Star Wars' movieET spoke with Abrams at Disney's D23 Expo on Saturday.ETonline
- Why NASA named rock after the Rolling StonesAt The Rolling Stones’ No Filter tour stop in Pasadena, California, Robert Downey Jr. announced that NASA named a golf-ball sized Mars rock "Rolling Stones Rock" after the band.RADIO.COM
- How Missy Elliott became a 4-time Grammy winnerMissy Elliott is a Grammy Award-winning rapper and producer who achieved great success with songs like "Get Ur Freak On" and "Work It."CNN
10 new TV shows you need to watch this summerUSA TODAY0:59
J.J. Abrams opens up about Carrie Fisher's scenes in next 'Star Wars' movieETonline2:26
Why NASA named rock after the Rolling StonesRADIO.COM0:57
How Missy Elliott became a 4-time Grammy winnerCNN0:55
The designer behind Jackie Kennedy's iconic pillbox hatCNN0:45
Hilary Duff confirms 'Lizzie McGuire' revival series is happening!ETonline1:51
Why did the NFL play a game in Canada?CBS Sports1:07
Prince Albert’s love letters to Queen Victoria released to the publicBuzz601:01
Model became Dior muse by knocking on his doorAssociated Press1:43
See Angelina Jolie gets emotional while sending son Maddox to university in South KoreaETonline0:54
How Taylor Swift makes and spends her millionsBusiness Insider7:28
10 outrageous celebrity outfits you'll never forgetHarper's Bazaar3:00
Here's how Bob Ross went from being in the Air Force to a celebrity painterTime3:07
Which NFL player is under the most pressure this season?FOXSports2:56
7 fun facts about the “Queer Eye” castMen's Health3:11
What the future of the MU looks like without Spider-ManTime2:47