CNN will present The Hunting Ground as planned tonight, despite legal threats from a lawyer for Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston. Kirby Dick’s documentary about campus sexual assaults will air at 8 PM ET.
“CNN is proud to provide a platform for a film that has undeniably played a significant role in advancing the national conversation about sexual assault on college campuses,” a network spokeswoman told The New York Times. “We are confident that both the film and our extensive associated coverage give this important issue the full and fair treatment it deserves.”
The film, which CNN has been plugging with repeated on-air promos throughout the week, goes up, fittingly enough, against NBC’s ratings powerhouse Sunday Night Football. A previously posted clip from the film appears above.
A lawyer for Winston has cautioned CNN about what he described as false and malicious comments made by Erica Kinsman, the woman who says Winston, a Heisman Trophy winner, sexually assaulted her during the quarterback’s playing days at Florida State University. Florida police did not bring criminal charges against Winston.
As Deadline reported last week, the controversial film was harshly criticized by Florida State University president John Thrasher as an “inaccurate and incomplete” picture of the way colleges nationwide are dealing with allegations of sexual assault.
The Hunting Ground is produced by Amy Ziering and was a critical favorite from January’s Sundance Film Festival. The film has an overwhelmingly positive, or fresh, Rotten Tomatoes score of 92%.