#AmandaKnox producer Stephen Morse recycles claims from her innocence advocacy campaign

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“Hopefully, when Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are acquitted, it will be the architects of the Foxy Knoxy myth who will have to finally answer some tough questions of their own.” -Bruce Fischer, Injustice in Perugia, Sept 2011

According to Stephen Morse and Rod Blackhurst, they and Brian McGinn first started the “Amanda Knox” project in 2011. It’s an odd coincidence coincidence that their film parallels a 2011 post written by one of Knox’s most outspoken advocates: focus on Prosecutor Mignini and Nick Pisa as being responsible for the conviction of Knox and Sollecito. From early reports its hard to say how the film diverges, if at all, from views expressed in that 2011 post. Even more striking is that producer Stephen Morse’s own twitter attacks directed at journalists and the prosecutor are almost identical to the views expressed by one of Knox’s most outspoken and activist advocates (Fishher runs the website Injustice in Perugia.) While Netflix has claimed Morse’s title of “producer” is only honorary, Morse and Blackhurst are clear that this was a joint project between the three of them.morse-film-2

On September 16th, 2011, Bruce Fischer, who runs the Knox advocacy site “Injustice In Perugia,” published a post on GroundReport. Fischer attacks Nick Pisa, Mignini, and two other journalists, Andrea Vogt and Barbie Latza Nadeau. He blames them for creating the media image of “Foxy Knoxy”:

“The Architects of “Foxy Knoxy: While the common wisdom is that the tabloid media played a major role in spreading lies and misinformation, the reality is that a trio of yellow journalists have been the worst offenders. Those journalists are Nick Pisa, Barbie Nadeau and Andrea Vogt. These three journalists were the chief architects of the Foxy Knoxy myth and have fueled the Anti-Knox fervor working as mouthpieces for Giuliano Mignini, the corrupt and convicted prosecutor that secured the convictions against Knox and Sollecito.

Media coverage of this case played a role in the wrongful conviction of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. Knox was mistreated horribly by the media with disparaging headlines that were endless. These disparaging headlines and salacious articles were not confined simply to common tabloids, but to well known magazines as well, such as Newsweek.”

(Bruce Fischer, Injustice In Perugia, 2011)

Shortly after Fischer’s post appears on GroundReport, Morse, Blackhurst, and McGinn arrive in Italy for Knox’s first appeal. On September 15th 2011, Stephen Morse flew to Italy. On September 19th, Rod Blackhurst was in Florence with Mario Spezi for the day, likely with co-director McGinn. Spezi is the journalist that previously had a run-in with Mignini and charged with obstruction of justice for the Monster of Florence case. Morse tweeted during the appeals hearing, and from his tweets at the time its clear he believed Knox to be innocent.

In Perugia and shortly thereafter, producer Stephen Morse echoes many of the same sentiments that Bruce Fisher expressed on Sept 16, 2011. While in Perugia, producer Morse confronted Nick Pisa about his reporting in Daily Mail. On twitter Morse called Pisa a “shit journalist”:

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A year later, Morse continued his attacks on Nick Pisa and the Daily Mail:

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In 2014 (during a time he was apparently ‘producing’ the movie), Stephen Morse wrote a blog post describing his trip to Perugia and expressing his belief in Knox’s innocence. The now-deleted post stated:

“In the narrative of Amanda Knox, Amanda has been portrayed as the bad guy, especially for people in the United Kingdom, who saw the trashy, headline-driven press in The Daily Mail, The Sun, and The Daily Mirror that target “working class” citizens of that former empire…

I booked a flight to Perugia, Italy, with an open mind, determined to find out what actually happened to Meredith Kercher on November 1, 2007. Very quickly, I learned that the narrative in British media, the one detailed by prosecutors, was preposterous and false. In essence, the prosecutor, Giulano Mignini, overstepped his bounds and basically created a theory that Kercher was murdered in a sex game gone bad, a theory that he learned about from his trusted psychic who’s now, thankfully, dead.”

(Stephen Morse, 2014)

Also in 2014, producer Stephen Morse attacks the other two journalists Bruce Fischer claimed were responsible for the “Foxy Knoxy” myth, Andrea Vogt and Barbie Latza Nadeau:

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In their closing comments to their articles, Fischer wants to see retribution for what Mignini and Pisa supposedly did to Knox; while Morse wants to address Knox’s media image:

Knox advocate Bruce Fischer, September 2011:

Hopefully, when Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are acquitted, it will be the architects of the Foxy Knoxy myth who will have to finally answer some tough questions of their own.

“Amanda Knox” producer Stephen Morse, 2014:

Amanda has responded with strength and intelligence to the people who have created hateful Facebook groups against her, like Perugia Vi Odia (Perugia Hates You), and it is my hope that one day her world will be free of the misplaced hatred that has already been lofted upon her for years.

Given the similarity in sentiment between Morse and Fischer and the way the film presents Nick Pisa and prosecutor Mignini, we’re left wondering if its just a coincidence that the film made by Morse, Blackhurst, and McGinn so very closely follows a blog post published by a Knox advocate while the trio were in Perugia, Italy? Or is this film simply the retribution against Nick Pisa and Guiliano Mignini that Bruce Fischer wanted to see happen in 2011?

Director Rod Blackhurst described how he, McGinn, and Morse were on a “filmmaking journey”;

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There are a number of decisions the directors could have made to have presented a more balanced picture of the trial.

  • Patrick Lumumba was falsely accused of a crime. If it is indeed Knox’s purpose to shine a light on exonerees, the exclusion of falsely accused Lumumba is curious. Lumumba’s life was forever changed due to Knox’s false accusation, yet the filmmakers left him out of the film with the flimsy excuse that he was in Warsaw and they were in Perugia.
  • The filmmakers could have done the work to look at the media in the country the trial was in, but they chose the lazy way and only looked at the British tabloid media.
  • Prosecutor Mignini had nothing to do with the Florence appellate court which upheld Knox’s original conviction. There was a separate prosecutor that the filmmakers could have included but didn’t.
  • The filmmakers seem content to let the US media continue to report the ‘salacious’ (and totally false) headline that Knox was “retried” and “reconvicted.”
  • The filmmakers reportedly mistranslate a portion of Mignini’s statement that appears in the film, leaving out the statement “why would an UNKNOWN man cover up the body.”
  • The filmmakers chose to only present Conti and Vecchiotti without presenting the subsequent court findings that negated Conti and Vecchiotti’s unsupported assertions. Conti and Vecchiotti only were charged to look at two items of DNA evidence, yet the US reporting has always presented them as if they undermined the totality of DNA evidence in the trial.

 

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Shocking! Producer Stephen Morse attacks credibility of journalist Nick Pisa years before Pisa appears in Morse’s documentary!

Stephen Morse, a producer for the Netflix documentary “Amanda Knox,” has on several occasions expressed his criticism of Nick Pisa and the Daily Mail. On at least two occasions Morse accused Pisa and the Daily Mail of deliberately lying. Morse writes in one of his twitter posts from 2011 that he confronted Pisa on the “lies” published by the Daily Mail.

According to Morse and one of the directors, the three of them started on the film in 2011. Amanda Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito had been convicted at the trial level, and their appeal to the Hellmann court was scheduled to be heard in late September of that year.

Morse traveled to Italy in late 2011 to cover the trial and provided twitter updates. His belief in Knox’s innocence shows in his tweets. It seems that one of the co-directors of the “Amanda Knox” documentary, Rod Blackhurst,  was also in Perugia at this time.

During the appeal hearings, Producer Stephen Morse provided the first evidence of his criticisms of Pisa and the Daily Mail. He claims that citations to ‘fraudsters’ would be better than citing Nick Pisa and the Daily Mail:

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Several days later, Morse confronted Nick Pisa in Perugia. While the details of this confrontation are not known, it is clear what Morse though of Pisa. His tweet uses the hash tag “#nickpisashitjournalist”; which reads “Nick Pisa Shit Journalist.” Morse writes the he confronted Pisa on the “lies” in the Daily Mail, which Pisa denied:

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A year later Morse repeated his claim that the Daily Mail and its reporters printed lies:

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In 2014, three years into working on the “Amanda Knox” documentary, Morse continued his criticism of the Daily Mail on his blog. Morse wrote that Knox was innocent, which he found out upon arriving in Perugia in 2011. Morse wrote of his desire to see Knox “free from the hatred that has already been lofted upon her for years.”

“In the narrative of Amanda Knox, Amanda has been portrayed as the bad guy, especially for people in the United Kingdom, who saw the trashy, headline-driven press in The Daily Mail, The Sun, and The Daily Mirror that target “working class” citizens of that former empire.” -Stephen Morse, 24 Feb 2014

In a now-deleted blog post, while in the middle of working on the film, Morse describes his desire for a rehabilitation of Knox’s image in the media:

“Amanda has responded with strength and intelligence to the people who have created hateful Facebook groups against her, like Perugia Vi Odia (Perugia Hates You), and it is my hope that one day her world will be free of the misplaced hatred that has already been lofted upon her for years.” -Stephen Morse, 24 Feb 2014

In recent reviews of the documentary, its clear Nick Pisa does not come across as sympathetic in the documentary. The Guardian writes that Nick Pisa becomes “a one-man symbol of how shameful that coverage became.” (Guardian, 15-Sep 2016). The Daily Beast writes “The filmmakers put much of the onus on tabloid reporters like Nick Pisa” (Daily Beast, 18-Sep 2016).

It leaves the question: did Nick Pisa know that this documentary was being produced by the person who confronted Pisa in Perugia in 2011 and accused Pisa and the Daily Mail of lying?

Netflix has attempted to distance Morse from the documentary, claiming the title “producer” was only honorary. But the film that will be broadcast across America on September 30th by all reports reflects the published views of producer Morse during the time he claims he was producing the “Amanda Knox” documentary.

Coincidence?

I think not!