There’s a new film coming out this December called, Richard Jewell, that focuses on the story of the security guard at the 1996 summer Olympics that saved people from a terrorist attack only to be wrongfully accused by the press to be the actual terrorist. This was a historic event that happened during the Olympic Games held in Atlanta, Georgia. The film is being produced by none other than Clint Eastwood. The first trailer for the film has already dropped. But what’s the real story that has inspired this film?
It was on July 27th at the Centennial Olympic Park that a homemade pipe bomb left in a backpack exploded and killed two people and injuring 112. The FBI determined that the terrorists that planned the attack were of domestic origin rather than international origins. Their attention was also drawn to the security guard, Richard Jewell, who called the police informing them about the mysterious backpack before the bomb went off. The FBI didn’t have any evidence to prove that Jewell was the terrorist, however, Jewell fit one of the personality files they had for the bomber.
The FBI grew frustrated when they could still find no solid evidence against Jewell and eventually leaked to the press that Jewell was, in fact, a prime suspect. The media blew the story out of proportion and began accusing Jewell to be the bomber. The people around the nation believed him to be the bomber as well and a lot of hate was geared toward Jewell. It was during this crazy time that the FBI knew for a fact that Jewell was truly innocent, but they had already struck the match that lit the blazing fire. For about three years the FBI investigated for the true bomber while poor Jewell was sent hate and death threats across the country.
It was finally in 1998 that the true attacker was found. A man named Eric Rudolph who was a passionate opponent of abortion and who also planned a few other bombings at abortion clinics and a gay night club was finally charged with the Centennial bombing. Rudolph wasn’t arrested until 2003 after he went into hiding in the Appalachian Mountains. He was eventually caught and admitted to the four bombings. In 2005 Rudolph was sentenced to multiple life sentences for his attacks.
Jewell’s name was mostly cleared but sadly a good number of people still believed him to be the bomber. Some people claimed he used Rudolph’s other attacks to hide his own or that he was a part of a group that Rudolph was in. In 2007 Jewell died in his home at the young age of 44 years old. His mother, who went through the ordeal with him, believes he died an early death due to the mass hysteria caused by the media and people’s vicious hate towards him. The real story of Jewell can be found on multiple news sites and CBS’s 60 Minutes also has a special on him, so if readers want to see the true story before the film he/she has every opportunity to do so.