Real-Life Characters Portrayed in ‘Spotlight’ Threaten Lawsuit Claiming Fabricated Depictions [w/ADDENDUM, 3/16/16]

Spotlight movie review criticism

The Boston Globe

At least four real-life individuals portrayed in the new Hollywood movie Spotlight are now complaining that they were falsely portrayed in the film, and at least one of them is considering legal action.

For one, Jack Dunn, a trustee at Boston College High School, who is portrayed in the movie as being dismissive of abuse claims at the school, is "emotionally and physically wrecked" by the false and reckless characterization of him in the film.

Fact becomes fiction

News of Dunn's false portrayal was first reported – quite ironically – in an article in the Boston Globe itself.

The next day, the Globe's crosstown rival, the Boston Herald, published an eye-opening piece that found that at least three additional individuals are now complaining that they too were wrongly depicted in the film.

The Herald's Jack Encarnacao reported:

"Boston College public affairs director Jack Dunn, former Globe reporter Stephen Kurkjian, former Globe publisher Richard Gilman, and victim lawyer Eric MacLeish all say their actions were misrepresented in a way that casts them in a negative light, apparently in an effort to add drama to the film.

"'All I want to do is to clear my name, and for the film producers to admit that they fabricated the dialogue to accommodate the narrative of the movie,' Dunn said. 'They manufactured dialogue because they needed a villain, and they chose apparently to make me a villain'."

"Dunn's lawyers have sent 'Spotlight's' distributors a demand letter calling for them to remove an offending scene from the film.

"Asked if he plans to sue, Dunn said, 'We're taking one step at a time'."

Dunn was so upset upon seeing the film, the Globe reports, that after he exited the theater, "he stepped onto the sidewalk and threw up."

In writing about the false portrayals in Spotlight, Gilman, the former Globe publisher, has written, "Some of the fictionalizing is harmless. Some is not. The movie is dealing with real people with real names with real reputations … Injustices are done."

Injustices have been committed, indeed. Spotlight's version of the abuse scandals does violence to the truth, so we are not the least bit surprised.


[ADDENDUM, 3/16/16: Unbelievable. Now that Spotlight won its Oscar, the film's producers have finally admitted that they smeared Boston College's Jack Dunn. In a statement, the producers acknowledged, "Spotlight contains fictionalized dialogue that was attributed to Mr. Dunn for dramatic effect. We acknowledge that Mr. Dunn was not part of the Archdiocesan cover-up. It is clear from his efforts on behalf of the victims at BC High that he and the filmmakers share a deep, mutual concern for victims of abuse."]

[There is even more. See the headlines. See the editorial cartoons. See the photographs.
Check out the most talked-about new book, Sins of the Press: The Untold Story of The Boston Globe's Reporting on Sex Abuse in the Catholic Church (]


  1. Trew says:

    One can only hope that they sue the pants off these guys.

  2. Jim Robertson says:

    When you've managed to make a catholic p.r. person retch on a public sidewalk over a movie. Well what needs be said? Did Mr Testy Tummy throw up over our abuse when he heard about that?

    • Derek says:

      JR I think you missed the point of the post. 


      Lying is lying even if you hate the church–which you have made quite clear ad nauseam that you do.

  3. Jim Robertson says:

    A Catholic Pr person would never never lie to the public about the church and it's actions. Oh no. Pr is nothing but lies and spin. That's the job.

    If telling the truth about your church's lying behavoir equates to "hating the church". Then you're right. I hate the hell out of the bastards and so should you.

  4. TruCatholic says:

    I sure all these Catholic Leaders were "Babes In The Woods," during this huge coverup.

  5. bob says:

    I was molested as a freshman at mt. carmel in chgo in 1951 It was a tramatic


    • Jim Robertson says:

      Bob. words can not touch the horror of sexual abuse. Please know there are many of us who , sadly, had to face the same pain you have.

      Words fail.

      You are not alone. Rape crisis centers were helpful to me. Being in a room with other men who'd been through what we've been through helped end my sense of isolation; and helped me know that all the guilt and shame belong to the rapists and their enablers in the church. None of it belongs to you. Give it back to it's makers.


  6. TruCatholic says:

    Did Mr Dunn go straight to the police, the moment he knew about all this horrible stuff ?

    • malcolm harris says:

      'TrueCatholic' on December 1st,… asks if Jack Dunn went straight to the police "the moment he knew about all this horrible stuff".

      Well…I doubt that they had mandatory reporting at the time. Which raises the question anyway…should concern for the children at risk caused him to report to the police….mandatory reporting or not?.

      Well to begin with the police cannot act unless they have a formal complaint from the alleged victim. In the case of a minor, the parents could report and jointly sign the statement of complaint. As there was no police investigation… we can safely assume the complaint was never made.

      So why do many people deliberately overlook the parents, and their failure to take action? My guess would be that they didn't know anything… because much alleged abuse comes from imaginative stories, which were only dreamed up… years later.

      Am convinced that most of these abuse claims are false, and intended to extract money from the Church. The actual risk to a false accuser is minimal.. but they sure expect to profit… bigtime,

      A temptation that some consistently dream about, and then create their own reality… to justify their claim.


  7. Dan says:

    Hey Jim, Hope your doing well. Saw your post to Bob and agree with all of it, and no one knows the pain like someone who's been there. Know you might not agree with me, but in my struggles in life, different from both of yours of course, nothing and no one (including psychiatrists) could help me through my guilt and shame like reading the New testament. Not religion, but the assistance of one who knows our difficulties in life and truly does have solutions. Not only that, He also helped me get through my anger and opened a door to forgiveness, which helped immensely with the anxiety we suffer in facing our struggles and questions in life. Forgiveness doesn't let the guilty party off the hook. It eases your mind and gives it back to the perpetrators and enablers.                          Take care, Dan

    P.S. Cost for my program, 25 cents. Usually you can find a clean, unused bible in a garage sale, most the time never touched or given a chance. Best to both of you.


    • TruCatholic says:

      Malcolm. As long as there wasn't mandatory reporting. And the priest(s), had no prior convictions. Like they said, in the movie, "They were just doing their job."

  8. Jim Robertson says:

    Thanks Dan. I've read the bible cover to cover That's what made me an atheist.

  9. benjamin says:

    Edgar Allen Poe claimed, he who complains most loudly and vigorously is guilty of conscience. I feel like vomitting on the whole lot of them. Amen