The company behind the controversial Reid Technique filed a federal lawsuit on Monday against Netflix and director Ava DuVernay, claiming that it was defamed in DuVernay’s miniseries on the Exonerated Five case. The Reid Technique was developed in the 1940s and is the most widely used interrogation method by police agencies worldwide, although critics have claimed the technique leads to false confessions.
The lawsuit specifically targets dialogue from the miniseries' fourth episode. A police detective responds that it was what he was taught when a character claims "You squeezed statements out of them after 42 hours of questioning and coercing, without food, bathroom breaks, withholding parental supervision...The Reid Technique has been universally rejected."
The lawsuit claims that this dialogue mischaracterizes the Reid Technique, which it says does not involve coercion, in order to get a strong viewer reaction, and that it is false to assert that the technique has been “universally rejected.”
The lawsuit says the series has damaged the company’s reputation, and seeks actual and punitive damages. The suit also seeks an injunction barring Netflix from distributing the series in its current form, and a cut of Netflix’s profits from the series.