Olivia Wilde Defends Journalist Depiction In Richard Jewell, Doesn't Believe She 'Traded Sex for Tips'
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"Contrary to a swath of recent headlines, I do not believe that Kathy 'traded sex for tips,'" Wilde tweeted.

Olivia Wilde is defending her role in the drama "Richard Jewell" amid the film's most recent controversy.

In a lengthy statement posted to her Twitter account Thursday, the actress responded to the criticism surrounding her portrayal of real-life Atlanta Journal-Constitution journalist, Kathy Scruggs. The Clint Eastwood-directed film follows the true story of Richard Jewell, a security guard whose life was thrown into disarray when he was named as a suspect in the Centennial Olympic bombing on July 27, 1996.

Many have taken issue to a particular scene in the film where it is implied Scruggs sleeps with FBI agent Tom Shaw (Jon Hamm) in exchange for information on Jewell for the investigation. While weighing in on the controversy, Wilde said that although she "didn't have a say" how the film was made, she doesn't believe Scruggs "traded sex for tips."

In the scene in question, Wilde sidles up to Hamm in a bar in an effort to get info, but he tells her "You couldn't f--k it out of them, what makes you think you could f--k it out of me?"

Undeterred, she begins sliding her hand up his leg, leading to him whispering Jewell's name to her. Suddenly in a rush to get back to the news room, she tells him the info has put a time crunch on their rendezvous and asks "Should we get a room or just go to my car?"

A surprised Hamm asks if she means right now, before she leads him out of the bar.

"One of the things I love about directing is the ability to control the voice and message of the film," Wilde began in her Twitter statement. "As an actor, it's more complicated, and I want to share my perspective on my role in the film 'Richard Jewell.'"

"I was asked to play the supporting role of Kathy Scruggs, who was, by all accounts, bold, smart, and fearlessly undeterred by the challenge of being a female reporter in the south in the 1990s," she continued. "I cannot even contemplate the amount of sexism she may have faced in the way of duty."

Wilde added that she has a "deep respect" for journalists, "particularly today when the media is routinely attacked and discredited, and regional papers like the AJC are disappearing on a daily basis."

The "Booksmart" director then clarified her stance on the criticism of her character.

"Contrary to a swath of recent headlines, I do not believe that Kathy 'traded sex for tips,'" Wilde tweeted. "Nothing in my research suggested she did so, and it was never my intention to suggest she had. That would be an appalling and misogynistic dismissal of the difficult work she did."

She continued, "The perspective of the fictional dramatization of the story, as I understood it, was that Kathy, and the FBI agent who leaked false information to her, were in a pre-existing romantic relationship, not a transactional exchange of sex for information."

She added, "I cannot speak for the creative decisions made by the filmmakers, as I did not have a say in how the film was ultimately crafted, but it's important to me that I share my personal take on the matter."

Wilde went on to explain that her previous comments about the controversy were "lost in translation" and further clarified her stance, writing "Let me be clear: I do not believe sex-positivity and professionalism are mutually exclusive. Kathy Scruggs was a modern, independent woman whose personal life should not detract from her accomplishments."

"She unfortunately became a piece of the massive puzzle that was responsible for the brutal and unjust vilification of an innocent man, Richard Jewell, and that tragedy is what this film attempts to shed light on," she added before concluded in another tweet, "I realize my opinions about Kathy, based on my own independent research, may differ from others involved with the film, but it was important to me to [make] my own position clear."

Earlier this week, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution wrote a letter to Warner Bros., claiming the studio reduced Scruggs to "a sex-trading object in the film," and demanded they release a statement acknowledging "some events were imagined for dramatic purposes, per Variety. The real life Scruggs died in 2001.

"The film is based on a wide range of highly credible source material," Warner Bros. said in a statement. "There is no disputing that Richard Jewell was an innocent man whose reputation and life were shredded by a miscarriage of justice. It is unfortunate and the ultimate irony that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, having been a part of the rush to judgment of Richard Jewell, is now trying to malign our filmmakers and cast. 'Richard Jewell' focuses on the real victim, seeks to tell his story, confirm his innocence and restore his name. The AJC’s claims are baseless and we will vigorously defend against them."

See Wilde's complete statement in the tweets below.

"Richard Jewell" hits theaters Friday.

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