Hearst blasted author Jeffrey Toobin, whose unauthorized 2016 biography “American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst” is being turned into the feature film and who is an executive producer of CNN’s “The Radical Story of Patty Hearst.”
“Jeffery Toobin’s unauthorized book, ‘American Heiress,’ which cites one of my kidnappers as its main source, romanticizes my rape and torture and calls my abduction a ‘rollicking adventure,'” she said in a statement released by her daughter Lydia Hearst’s spokesperson.
“I am further saddened and appalled that Fox 2000 agreed to finance and produce a movie based on Toobin’s book (with a similarly themed screenplay, also written by men) and that CNN has agreed to continue to perpetuate a one-sided dialogue romanticizing my torture and rape by hosting a podcast and docuseries through Toobin’s distorted lens,” Hearst said.
She also offered details on spurning Toobin’s request for cooperation on his book, adding, “As hard as it was to do, I have grown well past the 19-year old me and gone on to become a proud wife, mother, and grandmother. I have no interest in revisiting such a violent and hurtful time in my life.”
Hearst issued the statement Thursday, saying that she was inspired to do so after seeing women display solidarity through the Me Too and Times Up initiatives at the Jan. 7 Golden Globes, adding that she had been moved by Oprah Winfrey’s speech.
CNN and Fox had no immediate comment.
James Mangold is directing the untitled adaptation of Toobin’s best-selling book about Hearst’s 1974 kidnapping by the Symbionese Liberation Army, and re-emergence as a bank robber and member of the left-wing terrorist group. Hearst captured the world’s attention when she was caught on tape participating in armed bank robberies and declared her allegiance to the SLA.
Her arrest and trial sparked a media frenzy. Hearst, who claimed she was brainwashed, was captured after 18 months on the run and served 22 months in prison. Yahya Abdul-Mateen has been cast as the SLA leader Donald DeFreeze, who was also known as Cinque Mtume and Field Marshal Cinque. DeFreeze and five other SLA members died in May of 1974, following a shootout with the Los Angeles Police Department.
The six-part CNN original series, “The Radical Story of Patty Hearst,” is set for Feb. 11 and includes interviews with Bill Harris, who was part of the SLA, and Steven Weed, who witnessed the abduction.
CNN’s planned weekly podcast, “Patty Has a Gun: The Life and Crimes of Patricia Hearst,” is set to be co-hosted by Toobin and CNN’s Brian Stelter, starting Jan. 26 on iTunes.
Read Hearst’s entire statement below.
This past weekend at the Golden Globes so many strong women put together an incredibly moving testimony to the fact that times are changing. I’m so grateful for people like Reese Witherspoon, America Ferrera, and Eva Longoria who have taken a stand for women everywhere. When Oprah gave her acceptance speech it moved so many of us…she said, “[Recy] lived as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men, but their time is up.” That hit home for me more than you can imagine. It’s no secret that I was abducted, raped, and tortured at 19. What followed was a series of events that were the direct result of a child having been destroyed both inside and out.
Over the years I have been approached many times to discuss my ordeal, and I have answered many questions. I have spoken the truth about my experience and even wrote a 499-page book where I lay it all out, as painful as it was to relive. Each time I do, it puts me back in the nightmare which, as you might imagine, is deeply painful. This is why for the last several years, I have declined to answer any more questions. It’s very hard on me, and not something I want my daughters to be reminded of. When approached by Jeffrey Toobin in what could only be construed as an incredibly arrogant and egotistical fashion, he stated in an email that I should talk to him, saying, “you’ve written your own book and given many interviews”, yet he continued with, “It would be in your best interest to talk to me. I’m a high profile writer. This book will get a lot of attention. It will be seen as the last word on the subject.” It was offensive to me that a man would have the audacity to tell a woman that he would have the last word on her trauma. Naturally, I declined his request.
Jeffery Toobin’s unauthorized book, American Heiress, which cites one of my kidnappers as its main source, romanticizes my rape and torture and calls my abduction a “rollicking adventure.” This project is attempting to rewrite history and directly flies in the face of the present #MeToo movement where so much progress is being made in regard to listening, and providing a voice, to those who have suffered abuse. I am further saddened and appalled that Fox 2000 agreed to finance and produce a movie based on Toobin’s book (with a similarly themed screenplay, also written by men) and that CNN has agreed to continue to perpetuate a one-sided dialogue romanticizing my torture and rape by hosting a podcast and docuseries through Toobin’s distorted lens. I refuse to give Jeffrey Toobin, 21st Century Fox, CNN or anyone else involved in these projects about my life the power to make me a victim again, or the power to provide a platform where victim blaming is ok.
As hard as it was to do, I have grown well past the 19-year old me and gone on to become a proud wife, mother, and grandmother. I have no interest in revisiting such a violent and hurtful time in my life. Aren’t we living in a better world than this? I sincerely hope the answer is a resounding “Yes.” I am joyful and inspired by all of the women who have been brave enough to come forward with their truths. I stand with you, I support you, and I applaud you. #ListenToWomen #TIMESUP #MeToo