The Lovely Bones novelist Alice Sebold released a statement a week after the Black man she accused of rape was exonerated by a New York court.
The author set the literary industry ablaze with her 2002 debut novel and eventual film The Lovely Bones about a girl who is raped and murdered in the 1970s and trying to satisfy her teenage longings in the afterlife. The novel rips a page from the author’s memoir Lucky, detailing her 1981 rape as a Syracuse University student.
In Lucky, she describes the sexual assault and the justice system navigation while also obsessing over her rapist’s race that foreshadows the recent exoneration of Anthony Broadwater, a Black man who was convicted for Alice’s rape and served 16 years in prison. The pseudonym of Gregory Madison is used in the book. Coincidentally, Anthony was released in 1999, the same year Lucky hit shelves.
Alice wrote in her statement posted Nov. 30 on Medium that she is “truly sorry” to Anthony for her role in him being “another young Black man brutalized by our flawed legal system.”
“40 years ago, as a traumatized 18-year-old rape victim, I chose to put my faith in the American legal system,” she wrote. “My goal in 1982 was justice—not to perpetuate injustice. And certainly not to forever, and irreparably, alter a young man’s life by the very crime that had altered mine.”
The letter does not mention if Alice said this apology directly to Anthony over her role in his wrongful conviction. There isn’t any mention of what she plans to do with profits she made off Lucky.
“It took a lot of courage, and I guess she’s brave and weathering through the storm like I am,” Anthony told The New York Times. “To make that statement, it’s a strong thing for her to do, understanding that she was a victim and I was a victim too.”
Though Lucky was published in 1999, the memoir was recently being turned into a film for Netflix. The exoneration occurred after screenwriter Timothy Mucciante questioned the script’s authenticity during the court proceedings compared to the book, according to media reports. Then Timothy hired a private investigator who worked with Anthony’s lawyers to prove his innocence.
The Lucky film project has since been killed due to losing financing months ago, according to Variety. Timothy is working on a documentary about the case titled Unlucky with his production company, Red Badge Films, and Red Hawk Films, according to media reports.
Publisher halts Lucky distribution
Following the recent exoneration of Anthony Broadwater, and in consultation with the author, Scribner and Simon & Schuster will cease distribution of all formats of Alice Sebold’s 1999 memoir LUCKY.
[1/2]— Simon & Schuster (@simonschuster) December 1, 2021