Posted two months ago: Here’s the original Ed Bradley 60 Minutes report (aired on 11.22.92) about the rash and wrongful imprisonment of Walter McMillian on a murder charge.
Lasting 14 minutes, it covers most of the same material that you’ll find dramatized in Just Mercy (Warner Bros., 12.25). One of the things that Bradley’s report mentioned but that Daniel Destin Cretton’s film doesn’t explore much is the fact that McMillian had been having an affair with a white woman, Karen Kelly, and that one of his sons had married a white woman.
Both McMillian and the attorney he had in 1987, J.L. Chestnut, “contended that Mr. McMillian’s relationships alone had made him a suspect.” In a N.Y. Times prison interview in 1993, McMillian said, “The only reason I’m here is because I had been messing around with a white lady and my son married a white lady.”
The McMillian-Kelly relationship was reported and discussed in Bryan Stevenson‘s “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption,” the 2015 book that the film is based upon. Why does Just Mercy mostly ignore the McMillian-Kelly backstory? Mainly, I’m guessing, because McMillan’s sexual history would have compromised the pure-of-heart aura that Cretton and co-screenwriter Andrew Lanham wanted to project. It might have also lessened the sympathy factor among POCs…who knows?