Years After Murder Exoneration, Amanda Knox Hosts TV Show About Women Who've Been Publicly Shamed
On Wednesday, Facebook Watch premiered the unscripted series The Scarlet Letter Reports, in partnership with Vice's Broadly and hosted by Knox
Amanda Knox knows all too well what it’s like to be made into a villain.
The 30-year-old Seattle native’s years of headline-making began in 2007, when she was arrested on suspicion of murdering her roommate, British exchange student Meredith Kercher, while both were studying abroad in Perugia, Italy.
Knox, then a 20-year-old college student, steadfastly maintained her innocence. Despite that, she was swept up in a maelstrom of assumption, innuendo and speculation, fueled largely by prosecutors and the British and Italian press, who cast her as the central character of “Foxy Knoxy” in a tale of a sex game gone wrong.
Eventually the truth won out: After Knox spent four years in an Italian prison, an appeals court overturned her initial murder conviction. She and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, also accused in Kercher’s slaying, were retried and again found guilty but were ultimately set free when Italy’s highest court threw out their convictions in 2015.
(A third person, Rudy Guede, was also convicted of Kercher’s murder but remains behind bars.)
Knox hasn’t been behind bars in years. But while she says the misogyny and hate her case triggered has abated, somewhat, it continues to plague other women who find themselves at the center of controversy.
Starting this week, Knox hopes to change that: On Wednesday, Facebook Watch premiered the unscripted series The Scarlet Letter Reports, in partnership with Vice’s Broadly and hosted by Knox.
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Over the course of six episodes, Knox will sit down with high-profile personalities such as actress Mischa Barton, activist Daisy Coleman and model Amber Rose to discuss the harsh scrutiny they endured and how they recovered from it.
Knox, who has worked as a journalist and author since her release from prison, says with her show she wants to reveal the real people behind the “two-dimensional” characters” the media and the public have made them out to be.
What’s more, according to Vice, she hopes to show how these women’s lives were affected when they were “sexualized, scrutinized, and demonized” — a pattern with which she is familiar.
“The way that I approached people was like, ‘Listen I get it, I get it,’ ” Knox tells PEOPLE.
“It’s humbling to be here in the position I’m in now, where I can help other women reclaim their narrative,” she says, “when at a certain point in my life I thought I was going to live the better part of my life in prison labeled something I was not — with no chance at ever reclaiming my life.”
The series will explore how the way women are treated by the public actually echoes in the culture at large, Knox says.
“It leads to a wrongful conviction like mine or it leads to trashing of public women, and it also leads to trashing of the public people that we’re becoming through social media, so it’s all connected,” she explains.
The Scarlet Letter Reports did not begin life as a TV series, Knox says. Instead, she had pitched Vice’s women-focused Broadly on “the idea of writing about how women are vilified in the public eye, because that was part of my experience.”
“They immediately responded with, ‘That’s a great idea. You know what, we shouldn’t write about that. We should make a show,’ ” she recalls. “I was like, ‘Sure!’ ”
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Having lived for years with a polarizing reputation as a murder suspect, convicted murderer and then exoneree, Knox says she expects “a whole spectrum of reactions,” to her Facebook series.
“Some people are going to go, ‘Heck yeah it’s about time,’ ” she says.
Others might react the way commenters did when she recently took part in a Vice video for International Women’s Day.
“I was just one small part of the video,” she says. “Vice put it up on Instagram and 99 percent of the flood of comments that were responding to this video were people shaming Vice, saying, ‘Isn’t she the f—— murderer? How dare you Vice?’ ”
“There are so many people who to this day are very comfortable writing me off completely based on something that they don’t actually know about, and that continues to be my journey,” Knox says. “My reaction to that kind of thing is, ‘Hey, I’m a human, too.’ ”
The Scarlet Letter Reports airs Wednesdays on Facebook Watch.