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Amanda Knox condemns Hollywood’s treatment of true crime stories

Amanda Knox is speaking on behalf of Vili Fualaau, the former student and estranged husband of the late Mary Kay Letourneau, who was offended when his scandal was shown in «May December» without his presence.

“It’s the entitlement that really gets to me. The feeling that someone else’s life, their mistakes, their trauma, their STORY is just so free because it was in the news,” Knox wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

Knox, a former American exchange student who became the focus of a sensational Italian murder case, has long spoken out about the ethics of using true crime stories as source material in entertainment. Her own story was depicted without her consent in the 2021 film «Stillwater,» directed by Tom McCarthy and starring Matt Damon and Abigail Breslin.

Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were first arrested in Perugia, Italy, in 2007 after Meredith Kercher, Knox’s 21-year-old British roommate, was found dead, partially undressed in a pool of blood with multiple stab wounds. She was also sexually assaulted. Knox and Sollecito were sentenced to 26½ years and 25 years in prison in 2009, but were released after four years in prison when the verdict was overturned on appeal in 2011. Knox returned to the United States before a new trial was ordered, then returned to Italy in 2014, where both were again found guilty. This time Knox got 28 years.

But in 2015, Italian Supreme Court judges overturned the second verdict and definitively acquitted Knox and Sollecito of murder. Another man, Rudy Guede, was eventually convicted.

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Knox wrote a thought about it Atlantic in 2021, after «Stillwater» hit theaters, he called out McCarthy and Damon for making the film without her consent or knowledge. She criticized the pair for using her story and name to promote the film, saying they portrayed the film’s character «like Amanda» as guilty. According to Knox, neither McCarthy nor Damon accepted her offer to discuss these «ethically complicated» issues.

«We could all learn something by asking hard questions about what real life events we have the right to turn into content,» she continued in a social media thread on Friday. “And by asking who has the biggest stake in the telling of the story. I ask what the costs are and who will bear them. As storytellers, we can be legally clear about turning the lives of others into content, whether in a podcast or film, without their consent, but ethically…”

«These questions often arise with crime stories that are given legal clearance because they are considered ‘correct.’

Knox admitted that she had not yet seen «May December» and refused to judge its merits as a film. “I also offer no opinions on Mary Kay Letourneau or Vili Fualaau. However morally you judge them is pointless.”

«When someone is convicted of a crime, our criminal justice system hands out the punishment,» she wrote. “That punishment does not include giving up your ‘life rights’ to the Hollywood ecosystem. It could include being banned from (profiting from) this story.”

Knox further argued that even criminals, in her opinion, should have the right to consult how they are represented in a biopic. “And don’t forget that in stories like this, even if one person is guilty of a crime, there are many other people in the story who may not have done anything wrong, but whose lives have been affected by the events. Shouldn’t they have a say in how they are portrayed in the film?

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