I had the opportunity to screen the Clint Eastwood directed film Richard Jewell this week. I walked away asking myself, how did this happen to a man who was just doing his job?
The film from Warner Bros. recalls the story of Jewell (portrayed by Paul Walter Hauser) a security guard who worked at Centennial Park in Atlanta during the 1996 Olympic games. It was Jewell who would find a device that would eventually explode, but not before he was able to save countless lives.
You’re a national hero now. Thank you sir, but I was just doing my job!
He was instantly praised as a national hero by the media, but that didn’t’ last long.. Within days, that same media would call him a suspect because he fit the profile. “A frustrated white man, a Police wannabe, who seeks to become a hero,” a media headline read. But guess what? They were WRONG!
The media turned a security officer, who thought he was just doing his job life upside down. They villainized him. My heart went out to Jewell and his mother, Barbara Jewell (played by Kathy Bates), who does an astounding job by the way! As a mother, I felt her pain as she watched the world crucify her son, and tear his life apart. She did what any mother who loves their children would do, she came to the defense of her son.
The media has portrayed my son as the person who has committed this crime, they have taken all privacy from us, they have taken all peace.
Honestly, it reminds me of the climate we’re in today. So much of the stuff that we share and read on social media, isn’t true or some of the “facts” are missing in an attempt to taint our views of someone or something. We’ve become so quick to judge and condemn people without even having the facts or knowing the truth. I like to call this irresponsible communication. We forget to fact check for ourselves, before spreading the news.. We forget to take into account that the person we’re spreading a story about may have a family, etc…. and what type of affect our actions could have on their lives. The Bible instructs us in Titus 3:2 “To slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.”
If only the media had been gentle towards Richard Jewell.
Richard Jewell hits theaters nationwide Dec. 13th