Published June 18, 2019
Fairstein served on the board of Hargitay's Joyful Heart Foundation, which offers aid to domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault survivors. Fairstein resigned after being dropped by her publisher following the airing of Ava DuVernay's Netflix documentary series on the Central Park Five, "When They See Us."
"No, I have not talked to her. She did resign from my board," Hargitay confirmed of Fairstein.
Hargitay told the Associated Press that she's "known [Fairstein] for a long time" after meeting through "Law & Order" creator Dick Wolf.
"I met Linda. Dick introduced me to her. I think Stephanie March did because she was playing the ADA [assistant district attorney]," Hargitay recalled. She said she was "15 minutes in" to "When They See Us."
The documentary details the wrongful conviction of five black and Latino teenagers for the 1989 assault on a white female jogger in Central Park.
Fairstein, who led Manhattan's sex crimes unit at the time, has long been criticized for her role in the suspects' interrogations in the case. The suspects claimed Fairstein's unit coerced their confessions. Their convictions were overturned in 2002 after convicted murderer and serial rapist Matias Reyes, whose DNA was linked to the incident, admitted to assaulting the victim alone.
Since "When They See Us" premiered on the streaming service, Dutton Books dropped Fairstein, who was a best-selling mystery novelist for the publishing house. She also resigned from the Vassar College Board of Trustees and Safe Horizon, an agency that provides services to sex and domestic abuse survivors. Fairstein slammed the documentary's portrayal of her methods in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.