The Kirby Dick-directed documentary The Hunting Ground premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to strong reviews about its investigation of sexual assaults on campus, and the difficulty victims encounter when school bureaucrats try to handle disputes internally. Radius-TWC just opened it in limited release on Friday, and the docu has already created a he-said-she-said dialogue between Florida State University, the school where standout quarterback Jameis Winston, the likely top pick in the upcoming NFL draft, was accused of rape as a freshman.
The film, which was called “galvanic and compelling” in a Sundance review by our sister publication Variety, interviews the woman who accused the football star of rape. He has maintained his innocence; she is interviewed and said she dropped out of school after being ostracized for filing charges. Winston is just part of a tapestry of alarming charges made in the film, including that more than 100,000 college students will be sexually assaulted in the coming year, and that from 1996 to 2013, 259 sexual assaults were reported at Stanford and only one student was expelled.
FSU president John Thrasher is taking exception to what he is calling a one-sided treatment of how the university handled the Winston case, and he said there is no one in the film presenting the school’s side. Dick, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker who previously directed The Invisible War about rape in the military, has fired right back. Below is the opening letter the FSU president issued to students, and below that is Dick’s response, supplied by the distributor.