We all came to know her as ‘Foxy Knoxy’ from the lurid headlines that spewed out daily, in the media frenzy that surrounded her. Amanda Knox was a temptress, a she-devil and accused in 2007 of murdering her flat mate Meredith Kercher in a sex orgy that went wrong.
The headlines appalled me. It was Trial by Media. The press hunted her in a way that her boyfriend and co-accused Raffaele Sollecito wasn’t, simply because she was female. Knox was a witch being burnt at the stake and the tabloids were stoking the fire.
After spending four years in an Italian prison, Knox and Sollecito were acquitted. And now Netflix’s documentary ‘Amanda Knox’ finally sets some of her record straight.
Kercher was found murdered in her apartment in Perugia, Italy and what the film shows is that the fuel for much of the media frenzy was poured on by the lead reporter on the scene, Nick Pisa. He was a freelance Daily Mail journalist. This gives you an idea of his frame of mind at the time:
“A murder always gets people going; bit of intrigue, bit of mystery, a whodunit. And we have here this beautiful picturesque hilltop town in the middle of Italy. It was a particularly gruesome murder: throat slit, semi-naked, blood everywhere. I mean [laughs], what more do you want in a story?”
Pisa equates getting the world exclusive front cover story of Kercher’s autopsy report to “having sex” and now believes the Italian police force got caught up with some “crazy” ideas that were untrue.
“But, hey, what are supposed to do, you know?” he shrugs it off. “We are journalists and we are reporting what we are being told. It’s not as if I can say, ‘Right, hold on a minute. I just wanna double check that myself in some other way.’ I mean, goodness knows how. And then I let my rival get in there first before me, and then, hey, I’ve lost a scoop.”
No, I am not making this up. Why let a few facts get in the way of a salacious story, hey? Who cares if it victimises an innocent girl and ignores the rights of the victim for justice? Clearly Pisa is not from the school of journalism that I come from, where double checking facts is exactly what we are trained to do.
Between Pisa and the narcissistic misogynist Prosecutor Guiliano Mignini, who saw this trial as an opportunity to achieve Local Hero status, the poor girl never stood a chance.
I never doubted Knox’s innocence. I’ve seen this before – backpacker Joanne Lees, whose boyfriend was murdered in the Outback. Lindy Chamberlain, whose baby was taken by a Dingo. Women who are guilty without trial, accused by the press of not acting the way they’re supposed to. Women who become the centre of a feeding frenzy in the way that men never quite do.
But the Kercher murder took this to a whole new level. Knox’s sex life was dissected; her social media photos distributed. The two women were pitted against each other, by men who were making their name out of the story they were fabricating. Knox was the Whore to Kercher’s Madonna.
Prosecutor Mignini clearly thought so:
“Amanda was a girl that was very uninhibited. Hearing Meredith’s friends convinced me if you could imagine a girl different from Amanda in every imaginable way, it would have been Meredith.”
First time Directors Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn’s have done a brilliant job. They don’t judge. They don’t need to. They let Mignini and Pisa hang themselves. They reveal that once it was conveniently decided that Knox was the killer, the focus of the investigation was solely on putting her and her lover behind bars. Not justice for the victim.
Sadly, although it’s clear from the evidence that Knox was innocent all along, Kercher’s family still believes in her guilt. Many others think that too. Knox sums it up succinctly:
“There are those who believe my innocence and there are those who believe in my guilt. There’s no in between – either I’m a psychopath in sheep’s clothing or I am you.”
The Knox ‘story’ still divides. And it is one that will tarnish her forever. Not long after she was released from prison a woman at the supermarket recognized her and exclaimed: ‘I know you!’ ‘No you don’t!’ Knox thought. And she was right.
‘Foxy Knoxy’ was a story that was fed by police and prosecutors, fabricated by press and a witch hunt that destroyed her life. It was also one that gave little thought to the rights of the victim, Meredith Kercher, nor that of her family. They have said this film has opened old wounds for them again. But I believe it was one that was necessary, to balance the distorted facts.
Knox was acquitted. She is legally innocent. She has never complained about the treatment of her. She has kept her dignity throughout. Amanda Knox needed something to redress the damage caused by men like Pisa and Mignini. I only hope that this documentary will finally clear her name.
Watch the Amanda Knox Netflix Trailer here.
Have you seen this film? What did you think? Let me know in the Comments below.