A+E Networks Africa, which is behind a Lifetime movie titled “Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner Killer”, has conceded that neither Pistorius nor Reeva Steenkamp’s families have seen or endorsed the film.
Reeva’s parents and Oscar’s brother Carl have issued public statements in which they distanced themselves from the movie and Carl Pistorius threatened legal action to stop the release of the film, which he said was a gross misrepresentation of the truth.
Steenkamp’s parents, Barry and June Steenkamp, said they had no knowledge about the film and were “horrified and upset” about a report in trade newspaper Dateline Hollywood stating that the movie was told from Reeva and her mother’s perspective.
They “politely requested” A+E to issue a public denial of the Dateline Hollywood claim.
Carl Pistorius said in a statement the “film” was not a true reflection of what happened on the day of the tragedy on Valentine’s Day 2013 when his brother shot and killed Reeva behind a locked toilet door.
Oscar maintained throughout the trial that Reeva’s death had been an accident and that he thought she was an intruder. He was initially convicted of culpable homicide, but the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) later found him guilty of murder.
He is presently serving a 6-year prison term on the murder charge. The State’s appeal against the sentence, which it described as “shockingly inappropriate”, is due to be heard in the SCA on 3 November.
Oscar’s brother said in a radio interview with Cape Talk even the title of the movie was a gross distortion as his brother had been subjected to in-depth psychological tests for a month and it was never found that he had the mind of a killer.
He was of the view that the movie, based on the trailer he saw, was defamatory of both Reeva and Oscar and said his family was seeking legal advice.
A+E Networks Africa, which includes Lifetime Africa in its channel portfolio, said in a statement they had noted the families’ statements in the media, but had not yet received any correspondence from either of the families.
They said the film, which was written by Amber Benson and co-produced by ThinkFactory Media, “was based on a true story and public records” and they anticipated that it would elicit mixed reactions in South Africa due to the sensitive nature of the high profile court case, much of which was televised.
According to A+E, the Norman Stone-directed movie would be released in the US on 11 November, but a broadcast date for South Africa was still to be determined.