Ava DuVernay Calls Out Donald Trump’s Ad to Execute Central Park Five on 30th Anniversary

DuVernay released the poster for her new series "When They See Us" on the 30th anniversary of Trump's controversial newspaper ads.
Ava DuVernayGovernors Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 18 Nov 2018
Ava DuVernay
Michael Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

Ava DuVernay released on social media the official poster for her upcoming Central Park Five limited series “When They See Us,” and her caption made it clear the May 1 debut was intentional. The date marks the 30th anniversary of Donald Trump running advertisements calling for the executions of Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise, the five men accused of assaulting and raping a woman in Central Park.

“Muggers and murderers,” Trump’s 1989 advertisement stated, “should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes.”

Trump’s advertisement campaign didn’t mention the five teenagers by name, but everyone in New York City and across the nation knew which incident Trump was blatantly referring to with his language. Trump spent $85,000 for full-page ads in five of New York City’s major newspapers.

“On this day thirty years ago, Trump bought $85,000 worth of ads in all major NYC papers calling for the execution of the boys known as The Central Park 5 – before their trial,” DuVernay wrote in a caption accompanying the official “When They See Us” poster. “Today, we replace his hateful ad with another image. They were innocent. And the system failed them.”

Backed by Netflix, “When They See Us” is a four-part limited series that aims to humanize the five men at the center of the Central Park Five trial. The series spans 25 years, highlighting the five men’s journey from being accused to their exoneration in 2002, plus the settlement they reached with New York City in 2014. The cast includes Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Felicity Huffman, Niecy Nash, Blair Underwood, Joshua Jackson, Adepero Oduye, Famke Janssen, Jharrel Jerome, Jovan Adepo, Storm Reid, Dascha Polanco, and more.

“When They See Us” premieres on Netflix May 31.

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