The film, set to premiere this week, centers on the real-life Jewell, a security guard who was erroneously suspected of planting a bomb at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics after saving dozens of lives by discovering and reporting the device.
In an email sent to Fox News, Riley – who based his assessment on an information from an AJC reporter who attended a preview screening – took issue with the film’s portrayal of the AJC as having run its story based on unreliable sources and failed to challenge law enforcement’s investigation.
“This is essential because the underlying theme of the movie is that the FBI and press are not to be trusted,” Riley reportedly said. “As more and more filmmaking has come to Atlanta and Georgia, we’ve gotten a taste of just how difficult it can be to cover this industry.”
Riley added that it was ironic that a film that purports to hold the media accountable “disregards such crucial facts.”
The film reportedly portrays an AJC reporter, Kathy Scruggs, as trading sex with an FBI agent for a tip on a story.
“There is no evidence that this ever happened, and if the film portrays this, it’s offensive and deeply troubling in the #MeToo era,” he said. “Kathy Scruggs was the AJC reporter who got the initial information that law enforcement was pursuing Jewell. Scruggs was known as an aggressive reporter and committed journalist who sought always to beat her competition.”
“Richard Jewell” is slated to premiere in theaters on Dec. 13.
Fox News’ Julius Young contributed to this report.