Brexit funder Arron Banks threatens Netflix over Great Hack documentary

Legal threat comes as campaigners warn UK government that courts are being used to intimidate journalists

The businessman Arron Banks and the unofficial Brexit campaign Leave.EU have issued a legal threat against streaming giant Netflix in relation to The Great Hack, a new documentary about the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the abuse of personal data.

The threat comes as press freedom campaigners and charity groups warn the government in an open letter that UK courts are being used to intimidate and silence journalists working in the public interest.

In a joint letter to key cabinet members, they call for new legislation to stop vexatious lawsuits, highlighting one filed last week by Banks against campaigning journalist Carole Cadwalladr.

Award-winning reports by Cadwalladr, a freelance journalist who works for the Observer, have led to multiple investigations by regulators, and a $5bn fine for Facebook.

The legal claim against Ms Cadwalladr, issued on 12 July by lawyers acting for Arron Banks, is another example of a wealthy individual appearing to abuse the law in an attempt to silence a journalist and distract from these issues being discussed by politicians, the media and the public at a critical time in the life of our democracy, the letter says.

Banks had not seen The Great Hack, which comes out on general release on Netflix this week, when he instructed lawyers over the documentary.

London law firm Kingsley Napley, acting on behalf of Banks, his company Eldon Insurance, and Leave.EU, said in a letter on 16 July that their clients were concerned it would include false and defamatory allegations about their clients made by Cadwalladr and others.

The Observer understands they demanded a right to see any allegations made in the film, and be given a chance to respond, by Wednesday 17 July. The lawyers warned Netflix they would rely on any failure to respond, or failure to meet their demands, in any future legal proceedings they considered necessary or appropriate.

The Great Hacks co-director Karim Amer said: We have received a letter from Arron Bankss solicitors, which we have responded to, making clear that we stand by the contents of the film and will vigorously defend against any claim. We find it ridiculous that Arron Banks and his solicitors would issue such a letter without having seen the actual film.

We would invite Mr Banks to watch the film when it premieres worldwide on Netflix on 24 July. He added that Banks would be welcome at a London screening at the ICA that day.

The Observers editor, Paul Webster, criticised the legal action against Cadwalladr. Throughout her investigations she has been the target of a relentless campaign of smears and vilification by some of the subjects of her inquiries, he said.

The latest legal threats are a further attempt to smother vital investigative reporting.

Banks said: Im a great supporter of a free media and press. Unfortunately, Brexit has caused a breakdown in usual journalistic standards.

What we wont tolerate is outright lying or misrepresentation of the facts Carole Cadwalladr will have to stand up her wild claims in court and face the consequences or apologise, he said. He did not comment on the letter sent to Netflix.

Press freedom campaigners who signed the joint letter to the UK government say they have noted a growing trend of wealthy individuals using lawsuits to silence or intimidate journalists.

How the Observer covered the Cambridge Analytica story in March 2018.

The 16 signatories included Webster, and the directors of leading media and artistic freedom groups the Committee to Protect Journalists, PEN, Index on Censorship, Reporters Sans Frontires ,campaign group Greenpeace, a law scholar and the family of murdered Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

In addition to Bankss case against Cadwalladr, the letter also highlights legal threats to Galizia, who at the time of her death faced more than 40 civil lawsuits, many brought by UK-based firms.

Often the spectre of costly legal action can force a retraction or prevent a story being published; in other cases rich individuals may hope to silence critics with limited resources through the cost and time of a court case.

One of the things we have become increasingly worried about was the use of legal threats to silence journalists, and especially the threat of expensive libel suits, said Jodie Ginsberg, chief executive of Index on Censorship.

In the US there have long been concerns about lawsuits of this kind, which are known as strategic litigation against public participation, or Slapp cases. Several states have laws that stop these cases being brought to court.

Sometimes just the threat of legal action can kill a story. Slapp lawsuits can be a very low-cost means of [subjects of negative reporting] getting what they want, because quite often they dont even need to take anyone to court, said Rebecca Vincent, UK director of Reporters Sans Frontires.

The organisation last year gave Cadwalladr its Lesprit de RSF award, and Vincent praised her for discussing the lawsuit publicly.

I think she is very courageous about speaking out about this abusive defamation lawsuit that has been filed against her, because so often these cases remain hidden, she said.

Cadwalladr has questioned why Banks chose to lodge a personal case against her rather than suing the outlets that published her work, or the Ted platform that hosted a speech at the heart of his case, which have resources to fight a long legal battle.

Arron Banks is not suing Ted or the Guardian and Observer, though it is the extensive investigations that we have published and that have helped trigger several serious criminal investigations that has prompted this lawsuit, she said.

Instead, he has chosen to go after me as an individual in a clear attempt to intimidate and harass me. Its extremely concerning that a millionaire can use the law in this way. This isnt just an attack on me, its an attack on journalism.

This year Britain has positioned itself as a world leader on media freedom, hosting a global conference, appointing barrister Amal Clooney as a special envoy on the issue, and promising to consider the impact on press freedom of any new legislation.

Ginsberg urged authorites to make good on those promises by cracking down on abuses within the country. Given that the UK has made media freedom its major focus for 2019, one way it could take a lead is dealing with the big UK law firms who are helping the rich and powerful to stifle investigative journalism.

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Image: netflix

Black Mirror‘s fifth season is closer than we’re ready for, and three new trailers for each episode only confirm it. 

As expected, we get curious new technology (including a robot modeled after Miley Cyrus) and witness its influence on human behavior, whether it’s a couple trying to get pregnant or a driver determined to fix society.

For the episode teasers and Netflix’s one-line descriptions, read on.


A cab driver with an agenda becomes the centre of attention on a day that rapidly spirals out of control.

Cast: Andrew Scott, Damson Idris, Topher Grace

“Rachel, Jack and Ashley, too”

A lonely teenager yearns to connect with her favorite pop star – whose charmed existence isn’t quite as rosy it appears…

Cast: Miley Cyrus, Angourie Rice, Madison Davenport

“Striking Vipers”

Two estranged college friends reunite in later life, triggering a series of events that could alter their lives forever.

Cast: Anthony Mackie, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nicole Beharie, Pom Klementieff, Ludi Lin

Black Mirror Season 5 debuts June 5 on Netflix.

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With Homecoming, Beyonc Fully Leverages Her Internet Dominance

Deep into Homecoming, Beyoncé's doc and concert film from her performance at last year's Coachella, the artist explains her sense of purpose in creating the show, a celebration of both her decades-long career and a tribute to America's HBCUs. "As a black woman, I used to feel like the world wanted me to stay in my little box. And black women often feel underestimated," she says. "I wanted us to be proud of not only the show, but the process. … It was important to me that everyone who had never seen themselves represented felt like they were on that stage with us." It was integral, then, that she released the performance on the largest stages possible—not just the one in Indio, California.

Beyoncé's New Film Homecoming Is Headed to Netflix

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  • Beyoncé's Surprise Album Was the Year's Most Brilliant Release

  • Beyoncé has always commanded the internet's attention, always been able to direct its narrative. She did it when she surprise-dropped her self-titled album, and its visual companion, on iTunes in 2013. She did it again in April 2016 with another late-night landmine: Lemonade, the visual album that debuted exclusively on Tidal at the same time as its companion short film aired on HBO. This time around, though, the megastar is out to make sure everyone who wants and needs to experience Homecoming can do so, releasing the concert film on Netflix and an accompanying 40-song, two-hour-long album on—deep breath—Apple Music, Amazon Music, SoundCloud, Deezer, Spotify, YouTube Music, and Tidal, all at once.

    Beyoncé's sneak-attack playbook has become a bit familiar—it all started with the release of Beyoncé, which mysteriously appeared in the iTunes store one December night, no notice, no leaks—but there are a few remarkably different aspects to the release of Homecoming. First, this album wasn't gated as a Tidal-only exclusive like Lemonade was. Beyoncé and her husband, Jay-Z, are co-owners of the music-streaming service, so when they team up to put her music on Tidal, the service presumably it gets a, ahem, wave of new users. This wasn't an Apple-only exclusive either, and it is on Spotify, the service that famously didn't get Lemonade. Just last year Beyoncé rapped that if she "gave two fucks, two fucks about streaming numbers [she] would've put Lemonade up on Spotify." She likely still doesn't need, or care about, the numbers, but she does want the access to be nearly universal.

    It's also notable that Beyoncé turned to Netflix over HBO. By putting Homecoming on Netflix, she chose to make this performance—a historical document in its own right—available to the biggest crowd possible. (Netflix has 149 million subscribers across the world.) There's also Beyoncé's business savvy on display. As one Twitter user pointed out, she recorded her history-making Coachella performance, which had already live-streamed on YouTube, and then turned around and made that video into a Netflix film, effectively minting money several times off of the same performance.

    But this wasn't simply an exercise in capitalism and record sales or streaming views (though it will certainly be downloaded and streamed plenty). This was about Beyoncé knowing the internet will pay attention—and using that attention to tell an important story. The HBCUs, as the artist points out in Homecoming, are an integral part of the American experience. Yet they are also a segment of public life that isn't celebrated in mainstream pop culture nearly enough. Beyoncé's performance on that Coachella stage was the largest of her career—second only to maybe the Super Bowl, which gave her far less screen time but also the opportunity to again blow up the internet by releasing "Formation"—and by streaming it, recording it, and releasing it on nearly every platform around, she ensured that no one missed it, or its message of legacy and empowerment.

    "Instead of me pulling out my flower crown," Beyoncé says in Homecoming, "it was important that I brought our culture to Coachella. Creating something that will live beyond me, that will make people feel open and like they're watching magic." Homecoming is that—a once-in-a-lifetime performance by one of the world's greatest living artists that our hyperconnected world allows everyone to celebrate together.

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    Here are 7 facts about ‘Shaun of the Dead’ that will make your jaws drop

    All hell breaks loose in 'Black Summer' but Jaime King's hair remains intact. A real mystery, indeed.
    Image: courtesy of netflix

    Almost an entire episode of Black Summer, Netflix’s new slow-burn zombie thriller, is about a single character on the run from a single zombie. The entire half hour is brimming with terrifying anxiety.  It’s an unusual format but the doggedness of this drama will make it stand out from the horde of TV shows about the undead. 

    That doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. It caters specifically to fans of the genre who will patiently wait for Season 1 to put together its many puzzle pieces over time while providing sufficient gore as a reward.

    It comes at a time when zombies are already dominant on the small screen. Game of Thrones has icy ones, Santa Clarita Diet has humorous ones, and The Walking Dead walkers continue to drone on in their ghastly glory. 

    Z Nation used to be part of the group but SyFy cancelled it after 5 seasons in 2018. Black Summer is its prequel but shares no other DNA with it. The original was more of a horror comedy whereas this one is pulsating with suspense. 

    Set on the precipice of the apocalypse, Black Summer doesn’t look to provide a history of what caused it. Each episode is divided into multiple acts that start with a label like “The Heist” or “Follower,” a baseline precursor for what to expect. The only thing we learn about the living survivors is that they’re on the run, trying to reach a stadium where the military is helping them evacuate.

    The closest we come to a character backstory is Rose (Jaime King), a headstrong mother who gets separated from her teenage daughter in the chaos. King is very effective in her performance but the standout is Christine Lee as Kyungson, who is desperate to find her mother and escape this nightmare. She is an intelligent woman who only speaks Korean, emotes emphatically, and quickly became my favorite character to root for.

    But Black Summer’s doesn’t want to give you too many impactful, benevolent characters. It prefers digging into the roughest parts of the human psyche, the one that knows it’s about the survival of the fittest. Everyone’s morality falls under a gray area as they face off against monsters, both dead and alive. 

    In one scene, a few people trapped in a diner debate on whether or not one of them should be zombie bait and die while the rest escape. It gets dark.

    Don’t expect a high value to be placed on friendships like The Walking Dead often does. This is not a show about finding your community after the world has ended. It’s about how we, as a society, would horribly deal with the apocalypse if it happened right now.  

    This concept has potential but Black Summer doesn’t fully deliver on it. The characters aren’t well-developed enough for me to care about them if (when) they die. The pacing lags quite often. Plot points are skipped over as a “smart” narrative choice but it comes off as confusing, more so towards the end.

    What’s different about itare the zombies. They are surprisingly fast, dangerous, and unlike anything else we’ve seen recently. It’s actually what ups the thrill factor of the show, especially in the aforementioned episode where one of them single-handedly chases Lance (Kelsey Flower) for the entire duration.

    But despite some remarkable assets like fantastic camerawork, emphasis on isolating characters as a scare tactic, and a fairly decent cast, Black Summer isn’t ‘instant classic’ material. It doesn’t delve into its own zombie lore nearly enough, giving us tiny morsels of how they came to be or how they might die. 

    It’s great if all you’re looking for some mildly riveting jump scares and the tension we’ve come to expect from the zombie genre, but if it’s in-depth storytelling you want, this doesn’t make the cut.

    Black Summer Season 1 is now streaming on Netflix. 

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    How to make your binge-watch as comfortable as possible

    If you're going to binge-watch, at least do a little self-care.
    Image: Vicky Leta

    In Binged, Mashable breaks down why we binge-watch, how we binge-watch, and what it does to us. Because binge-watching is the new normal.

    Binge-watching is basically an endurance sport, so you need to be sure you’re prepared. After all, if you’re going to watch You until your eyes fall out (recommended), why not make the experience as pleasant as possible?

    That means paying close attention to the conditions under which you watch: the couch, the temperature, the vibe, and (most importantly) the snacks.

    Some hot tips:

    1. Assemble your snacks before the binge-watch begins

    To truly maximize your experience, I recommend selecting one salty snack, one sweet snack, and one wild-card snack. Some suggestions from my colleagues, whose tastes range from great to truly horrifying:

    • Takis

    • Sno-Caps in popcorn

    • Uncrustables

    • Plain Lay’s chips and Greek yogurt

    • Chocolate-covered pretzels

    • Trader Joe’s olive oil popcorn

    • Literally a ham-and-cheese sandwich dipped in orange juice (cursed)

    • Celery and peanut butter

    • Peanut butter straight from the jar

    Note: you can always sub in pizza for any category (or all three).

    2. Keep no less than three beverages in front of you at all times

    One of the beverages should be water. For the other two, I like to choose a large, gulp-able beverage — like Gatorade or, if I am feeling brave, seltzer — as well as a fancy, small beverage, like a blood orange San Pellegrino or one of those high-end lemonades with cursive lettering on the bottle.

    3. Get up every hour to stretch

    You don’t have to do a full yoga class, but it’s nice to remind your body that it is, in fact, capable of movement. 

    4. Consider the two-blanket approach

    I have radiators in my apartment and do not control my own heat, which means that sometimes my living room is 1,000 degrees. This is too hot. If I open the window, though (see #7), it becomes too cold. That’s why I prefer to have two blankets near me when I binge-watch: one thick blanket for the cold times and one thinner cotton blanket for the medium times. During the hot times, I use no blanket at all.

    5. Consider your spinal column

    If you need to bring a bed pillow onto the couch for back support, so be it. If you’re binge-watching in bed, consider acquiring a backrest pillow. Maybe one … with a cupholder?

    6. If you’re watching a show featuring heavy subject matter, take more breaks

    While there is certainly no shame in binge-watching, it can have adverse effects on your mental health — especially if the show you choose deals with emotionally fraught topics. In these cases, treat yourself to a few more breaks than you normally would. We’re not saying go outside (imagine!), but maybe do a few more stretches, check in with your friends, and drink some extra water.

    7. Open a window

    Let your binge-watching farts (different than regular farts) fly freely into the atmosphere.

    8. Text people about what you’re watching

    If you do not have a binge-watching partner literally sitting next to you, it can be fun to live-text the show with a fellow binge-watcher in another location. It also reminds you that you have friends. Crucial! 

    What you should not do, however, is send texts about the show to someone who has not seen the whole show yet. Avoid committing this friendship crime at all costs.

    9. Switch positions

    When you have a nest, you have a nest, so switching rooms isn’t necessary. But alternating between sitting up and lying down, or even just lying down on the other end of the couch, can be kinda nice. After all, lying down in a second location is a fun twist on lying down.

    10. Respect the air

    If you’ve chosen some really good snacks (and also haven’t left the couch for six hours), the room can start to smell a little … rank. That’s when it’s time to light a candle.

    On the off-chance Gilmore Girls is your binge-watch, there is a Gilmore Girls candle designed to burn in tandem with the 2016 revival. There are also Stranger Things-themed candles. Or you could just burn a regular one. It’s your binge-watch, after all!

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    Yeah, pretty much everyone streamed Netflix’s ‘Bird Box’

    Sandra Bullock in the thriller 'Bird Box.'
    Image: Courtesy Netflix

    Netflix is notoriously cagey about audience statistics, but even the most secretive among us can’t help bragging sometimes.

    Following the release of the sci-fi thriller Bird Box, the company claimed in a tweet that a staggering 45 million accounts watched the film over its debut week.

    According to Netflix, this is the best debut week for any of its films ever. It’s worth pointing out that the 45 million number refers to accounts, not views or streams. So the figure isn’t even taking into consideration how many of us share Netflix or watched it with one or more viewing companions.

    To put that number into perspective, if each of those accounts had paid $14 to see Bird Box — less than the price of a movie ticket in cities like New York — the Netflix thriller would have surpassed Aquaman‘s current global box office haul of $629 million.

    The rare look at Netflix numbers reminds us how ubiquitous the streaming platform is, particularly with its international scope. 

    Bird Box is now streaming on Netflix.

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    Brace yourselves: the Netflix trailer for ‘Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle’ is here

    Get ready, Jungle Book fans: the latest adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s book is well on its way, and judging by the trailer it’s going to be a real feast for the eyeballs.

    The 200-second feature above introduces us to Mowgli (Rohan Chand) and a cast of (very famous) talking animals, including a Christian Bale-voiced Bagheera and Benedict Cumberbatch as Shere Khan.

    The visuals looks genuinely impressive, and Shere Khan looks even more unnerving than he did in the Disney adaptation.

    Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle will be available on Netflix and in select in some theatres on Dec. 7th.

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    The Keepers: ‘I’ve dealt with survivors and they’re sickened by the church’s response’

    Ryan Whites Netflix documentary set out to investigate the murder of a nun in Baltimore and unearthed 25 years of child abuse and collusion

    On the day The Keepers was released on Netflix, the archdiocese of Baltimore tweeted that although it did not deny allegations of child abuse against Father Joseph Maskell, a priest who worked in the city for decades, the premise and conclusion of Ryan Whites documentary series were wrong. The account @archbalt included, bizarrely, a clipart picture of a checklist, and a hashtag, #TheKeepersUntold. It has continued to use this hashtag, along with another, #TheKeepersTruth, since the series came out.

    Its easy to see why this astonishingly powerful seven-parter has led to what White, over the phone from his home in Los Angeles, calls a church in defensive attack mode. The Keepers initially begins as a Making a Murderer or The Jinx-style true-crime whodunnit, promising an investigation into the unsolved 1969 murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik, a Baltimore nun and teacher. But it quickly reveals itself to be much bigger, and more far-reaching, than that, exposing decades of child abuse within institutions across Baltimore, from the church to the police force, and distressingly, the extent to which they colluded in silencing the victims and covering up such horrific crimes. As youve seen now, on paper especially, its a pretty unbelievable story. Its captivating, for sure, White says.

    Watch the trailer for The Keepers.

    Whites previous work includes Serena and The Case Against 8. He came to the story through a personal connection: both his aunt and mother went to Archbishop Keough high school, where Maskell and Cesnik taught and where much of the abuse documented in the film was alleged to have taken place. Whites aunt was a student of Cesniks and he says that there had always been local interest in the Sister Cathy story. In particular, he and his family had been intrigued by the identity of Jane Doe, an anonymous former Keogh student whose allegations of abuse against Maskell resulted in a 1994 court case, in which she sued Maskell and the archdiocese of Baltimore for covering up the abuse. Doe claimed that Cesnik had discovered what was going on in the school, and that Maskell had taken her to Cesniks dead body as a warning against speaking out. The case was dismissed.

    People like my aunt and my mom had always wondered, White explains. In 2014, Tom Nugent, an investigative journalist who appears in the series, published a blog in which Jane Doe revealed her identity. She was Jean Wehner, a classmate of Whites aunt. Thats when they found out their friend was Jane Doe. His mother said Wehner had a story to tell and, curiosity piqued, White flew from Los Angeles to Baltimore and spent five hours at her house. On the way back, my producer and I both agreed right away that if she wanted to do something, we wanted to be her partners in it. I felt like she was a person who was incredibly honest and raw, and once Im drawn to a person like that, thats when I know its the starting point of a documentary.

    Not-so-silent witness … Jean Wehner, AKA Jane Doe. Photograph: Netflix

    During the course of the series, we hear that Wehner only began to remember the abuse that had taken place many years later, and this notion of repressed memory memories that have been blocked out by trauma, only to later re-emerge was given as the reason for the 1994 lawsuit being dismissed. White acknowledges that it was initially a foreign concept to him. I wondered if you could really witness and experience something that gruesome, and not know you had lived it. Im not a psychologist, so I cant get into the science, but I will say that now Ive made The Keepers, I cannot tell you how many people in my life have come forward with the same stories.

    Wehner, he says, is a prime example of that. She was the first person ever to come forward publicly with an allegation against Father Maskell and shes been corroborated by dozens, if not hundreds. People can prove that it happened to them, and they are telling us that there were certain parts of their lives where they werent aware of it.

    White spent three years making The Keepers, and it took over his life. He assumed naively, he says now that once the series was out there, that would be an end to it. I guess I kind of fooled myself into thinking the day it was released was the day Id be able to look up and see the world again, he laughs, wryly. Instead, it got more personal when it came out, and it got even more nauseating. I was unprepared for the type of personal reaction that people would have to it. His email inbox regularly fills with people asking him to investigate their own stories of abuse, or asking him to put them in touch with Wehner. Eventually, the production team sought professional help from NGOs and non-profit organisations specialising in working with survivors. I know that I cant be that for all of these strangers out there in the world, he says, so its about getting them the resources they need as soon as possible.

    The accused … Baltimore priest Joseph Maskell. Photograph: Netflix

    The Keepers is harrowing, documenting awful violence and abuse. I recently heard someone describe it as brilliant, and follow that immediately with dont watch it. White was well aware of its potential impact. We knew we had found something very sad, but also very powerful, that could lead to a lot of change, he says. The sheer scope of the story The Keepers ends up telling a cover-up of child abuse on a mass scale within the Catholic church; a new Spotlight, of sorts became frightening to him.

    Ill say it, I was afraid, says White. I was afraid many times during filming. I was probably afraid through the entire filming. You always had the sense that we were rooting around in something people didnt want us rooting around in. It was definitely the most uncomfortable Ive been in my film-making career.

    White says, though, that its important to realise the experience was not all doom and gloom. Jean is probably one of the most fun people Ive ever met in my life, he says. She and I can drink wine all day long. Indeed, one of the series most memorable scenes is also one of its few instances of humour. When Wehner is told that the church had known about earlier abuse allegations against Father Maskell, she half-laughs, and finally yells: Those fuckers!

    Question time … the Keepers director Ryan White with survivor Jean Wehner. Photograph: Noam Galai/Getty

    Its an incredible moment of catharsis. It was one of the few moments where anger overcame Jean, and she was willing to show it, says White. She and I keep laughing so hard, because that clip has gone viral. I was like: Jean, who would have thought you dropping the F-bomb would be all over the internet? Because shes a grandma, you know? Thats not Jean. Thats whats been done to her. Thats what all of this horrible trauma has caused.

    Although the initial premise of The Keepers appears to be Who killed Sister Cathy?, its really Wehners story, and it ends when it does, with no solid conclusions, says White, because Wehner felt as if she had said all she could say at this time. We dont have that neat, The Jinx-style ending [in which the suspected murderer is caught on-mic apparently confessing to his crimes] where somebody confesses they killed Sister Cathy, but it felt like Jeans journey was wrapping up, so we said: Lets release this to the world, and see how the world reacts, even though there arent neat endings to the true-crime part.

    The world has certainly reacted. One consequence of true-crime dramas such as Serial and Making a Murderer is that they tend to turn their army of viewers and listeners into amateur sleuths. Is it ethical to place real crimes in the hands of an audience? White has not had time to really fall into the Reddit rabbit hole yet, he says, and understands that its a tricky area. The way I really justify it is that The Keepers is a story about women being silenced, right? he says. All of the women Ive worked with, all of the survivors that I became so close with, over the last three years, are proud of the product. They feel its finally giving them a voice. Those are the people who matter the most. If there are other people being held to a flame in some way because of their failures, thats what accountability is.

    He sounds truly astonished that it has taken this long. Maskell died a free man under the care of the archdiocese [in 2001]. If people have to finally answer the tough questions, or the institutions in power have the public questioning them at this point, then Im learning to be comfortable with the fact that thats what should have happened long ago.

    The response of the archdiocese of Baltimore has been surprising, to say the least. People in churches and schools in Baltimore started sending us literature that the archdiocese was sending out, on how to tell people what we got wrong. The documentary wasnt even out. I just found it incredibly disappointing. The @archbalt account retweeted a message that called the series fiction, a spokesperson subsequently admitting that this was bad judgment. Theyre trying to re-message. Theyve lost. Its too late now, says White. All I know is that Ive dealt with between 35 and 40 survivors and theyve all been sickened at the archdioceses responses. Ive spent way too much time on phone calls with people I worked with in tears, because this institution continues to torture them, and I dont understand why.

    What makes this all the more disappointing for White is that he was raised in the church and his own experience was positive. I wasnt a practising Catholic, I had wandered away from the church in my 20s but still had fondness for it. And now? I wont be a part of that church again. My faith has been shattered. Does he think the cover-up goes all the way to the top? The only responses weve seen to our documentary are from the archdiocese of Baltimore. What is the Vatican response? I dont know how high it goes, I wont even speculate on that, but I would like to hear from the Catholic church that reigns over the archdiocese of Baltimore, why they havent made a response to it. Incidentally, shortly after I spoke with White, the popes chief financial adviser, Cardinal George Pell, announced that he would take a leave of absence following multiple accusations of historical sex crimes.

    The victim … Sister Cathy Cesnik with her father, Joseph. Photograph: Netflix

    As for the murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik, White says he has his own theory about who did it, and believes Maskell was certainly involved. Since the documentary came out, Maskells body has been exhumed to allow DNA testing on evidence found at the murder scene. There was no match. White says nobody really believed they would find evidence of Maskells presence at the murder scene, but it does show that the police are taking it seriously, and spending time and money on trying to crack the case. So, are we any closer to knowing who killed Sister Cathy?

    What The Keepers has done is blown the lid off of Baltimore, really shaken the branches of information, and I think people are seeing things, remembering things that they didnt even know played a role in this, says White. So, I think we are closer. Whether that means we ever solve it and someone goes to jail, I cant guarantee that. But the amount of information and progress weve seen just in the weeks since it came out, says to me that this cold case can still be solved.

    The Keepers is available now on Netflix

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