Netflix is keeping their foot on the industry’s neck. After the success of Ava DuVernay’s miniseries, which has been the platform’s most watched series since it premiered in May, the streaming service is continuing to tell stories for people who have been oppressed through the justice system.
This time, it will be Cyntoia Brown.
According to Shadow and Act, Netflix has acquired the rights to her story. The Hollywood Reporter stated that Daniel H. Birman will direct the documentary for Netflix, which is set to examine the facts of the case which began in 2004.
For those who need a refresher, Brown was the sixteen-year-old girl who was tried as an adult for murdering the 43-year-old man who paid to “have sex” with her. Because Brown was a minor at the time of the incident, it was clear statutory rape. Advocates for Brown have described her as a victim of human trafficking. She was forced into prostitution by a pimp after leaving home. As a result of the murder, she was sentenced to life in prison.
After a ten-year legal battle, a 2011 PBS documentary and attention from notable people in media, including Rihanna, Viola Davis, Kim Kardashian and a host of others, including regular citizens. Tennessee governor Bill Haslam eventually granted Brown clemency earlier this year. Haslam wrote: “…imposing a life sentence on a juvenile that would require her to serve at least 51 years before even being eligible for parole consideration is too harsh, especially in light of the extraordinary steps Ms. Brown has taken to rebuild her life. Transformation should be accompanied by hope. So, I am commuting Ms. Brown’s sentence, subject to certain conditions.”
Brown, now 31, will be released on August 7. In response to Haslam’s clemency ruling, Brown issued this statement:
“Thank you, Governor Haslam, for your act of mercy in giving me a second chance. I will do everything I can to justify your faith in me.
I want to thank those at the Tennessee Department of Corrections who saw something in me worth salvaging, especially Ms. Connie Seabrooks for allowing me to participate in the Lipscomb LIFE Program. It changed my life. I am also grateful to those at the Tennessee Department of Corrections who will work with me over the next several months to help me in the transition from prison to the free world.
Thank you to Dr. Richard Goode and Dr. Kate Watkins and all of you at Lipscomb University for opening up a whole new world for me. I have one course left to finish my Bachelor’s degree, which I will complete in May 2019.
I am thankful for all the support, prayers, and encouragement I have received. We truly serve a God of second chances and new beginnings. The Lord has held my hand this whole time and I would have never made it without Him. Let today be a testament to His Saving Grace.
Thank you to my family for being a backbone these past 14 years.
I am thankful to my lawyers and their staffs, and all the others who, for the last decade have freely given of their time and expertise to help me get to this day.
I love all of you and will be forever grateful.
With God’s help, I am committed to live the rest of my life helping others, especially young people. My hope is to help other young girls avoid ending up where I have been.