While working to adapt author Alice Sebold’s memoir “Lucky” to film, the executive producer hired a private investigator after noticing some inconsistencies in her story.
“Lucky” tells the story of Sebold’s rape – but the investigator discovered the WRONG man was convicted of the assault!
It took the filmmaker’s investigation to get 61-year-old Anthony Broadwater exonerated, finally, in 2021 – 40 years after the rape.
Sebold went on to receive international acclaim for her story – but the wrongful conviction was rarely mentioned.
“I will continue to struggle with the role that I unwittingly played within a system that sent an innocent man to jail,” Sebold recently apologized. “I will also grapple with the fact that my rapist ... may have gone on to rape other women.”
Broadwater spent 16 years incarcerated, and more years traumatically isolated by his community for his sex offender registration post-release.
The system both neglects to give survivors the care and support they need, and offers no actual accountability for the vast majority of sexual assaults. It also actively works to ruin Black lives.
And that’s not justice – it’s a lose-lose situation.
In an abolitionist world, what was done to Anthony Broadwater would not have happened. We don’t have to have all the answers for what that world would look like now, but we need to at least start imagining something better.