ONE major documentary about the Ohio State University (OSU) sex-abuse scandal that is expected to bring renewed attention to then-OSU coach and now Republican Congressman Jim Jordan is currently in mid-production.
The untitled Max (HBO) movie, produced by George Clooney and directed by Oscar winner Eva Orner, will tell the story of decades of abuse by former OSU sports doctor Richard Strauss through the eyes of the victims “including all Americans wrestlers and football players. , many of whom have not spoken until now,” the streaming site said in a statement last year.
An employee at Clooney's production house Smokehouse Pictures said The independent were “still thick in production on it”.
Attention to the scandal has intensified in recent weeks as Jordan launched his ill-fated bid for Speaker of the House, only to be sidelined by the same chaotic forces he helped grow within the party. Mr. Jordan denied knowledge of the abuse by Strauss, than numerous witnesses stating that they discussed it directly with him.
Since then, many victims have said that Mr. Jordan's alleged participation in the culture of silence that allowed Strauss' abuse to go unpunished should have disqualified him from speaking.
Mike Schyck is one of more than 300 victims of Strauss' abuse and revealed that he was flown to Columbus, Ohio for days of interviews with Ms. Orner and the production crew.
The filmmakers also traveled to his home in Englewood, Florida, for further interviews with him and his family members.
said Mr. Schyck The independent that he and other survivors quietly hope the film will have a huge impact on ongoing efforts to hold OSU accountable, but that the focus on Mr. Jordan's role in the scandal was being cynically exploited by his political enemies.
“People are trying to get sounds to influence what he does politically,” Mr. Schyck said. “I have one sole purpose and that is to help my teammates and all other athletes seek justice.”
The documentary was scheduled to be released later this year or possibly early next year, Mr. Schyck said. The independentbut that after conversations with Ms. Orner, she now understands that the release was delayed as the filmmakers continued to reveal new details.
“He says it's something that's constantly changing. New data comes out every day. They're waiting for a finished product like we all are.”
They spent time watching him at Lemon Bay High School in Florida's Gulf Coast, where as head wrestling coach he guided his son to two state championships.
Survivors were also asked to send boxes of photos, clippings and documents to the filmmakers from their time at Ohio State.
Mr. Schyck had been upset by the rush to criticize Jordan for his role in the culture of silence surrounding the abuse of Strauss, whose victims spanned many sports and began long before Jordan arrived at the university in 1986 and continued after his departure in 1994. .
“Over 30 years, how many (OSU) assistant coaches have come and gone and we isolate one? Jordan made his own choices about how to go about it and I blame him for that. But to isolate him, I think it's irresponsible,” he said The independent.
Attacks on Mr. Jordan, who is often referred to as “Gym Jordan” by critics, marginalize the plight of survivors, Schick says.
“People are uneducated about the case and they're vilifying him for his political beliefs and they're going to pile on any way they can,” Mr. Schyck said.
Strauss, who died in 2005, was accused of preying on hundreds of students between the 1970s and 1990s, from groping on the genitalia to raping during medical examinations.
Mr. Schyck is one of dozens of victims who have spent the past five years in litigation with the university where he spent eight years as a student and assistant wrestling coach.
After Strauss' crimes came to light in 2018, Jordan vehemently denied any knowledge of them.
A 2019 independent investigation by law firm Perkins Coie found that university staff knew about complaints about Strauss' behavior as early as 1979, but failed to investigate or act meaningfully.
The report found that dozens of members of the Ohio State athletic department, including 22 coaches, knew of complaints or rumors about Strauss.
Jordan was not named and told reporters in 2019 that he felt vindicated by his findings.
A representative for Mr. Jordan did not respond to multiple requests for comment The independent about the documentary.
OSU has already admitted it failed to protect students and paid $60 million to settle claims from nearly 300 victims.
But he has fought to dismiss five remaining lawsuits by dozens of other students. In June, the Supreme Court ruled that the cases could proceed despite the expiration of the statute of limitations.
After issuing a public apology and paying millions to victims, Ohio State denied it had “admitted” any wrongdoing in a court filing earlier this month, which Mr. Schyck said is just the latest example of how it has scorch the victims for decades. .
Pretrial hearings in Mr. Schyck's case in the Southern District of Ohio are scheduled for November.
Mr. Jordan has been named in at least one of the pending lawsuits, and scrutiny over his knowledge of the abuse will likely continue.
said Mr. Schyck The independent he had gone through a range of emotions agreeing to tell his story to the documentary makers.
“I can get emotional. I'm a fiery guy. And through that I found myself crying about certain things,” she said.
“I'm nervous about it because I don't know how it's going to play. I never wanted to be in a position to talk about it. I'm a private person and it's a little scary to put it under the microscope.”
He said the filmmakers had gone to great lengths to expose the university's role in covering up the abuse and that it had the potential to be a “game changer”.
“They're not going to pull any punches, they're going to try to show accountability where it should be,” Mr. Schyk said. “There are so many layers to what happened. It's not just about the abuse that happened, it's about the betrayal by her.”
He believes the scandal could be seen alongside the years of abuse of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar at the University of Michigan as one of the worst university sex-abuse scandals in US history. The State of Michigan has agreed to pay more than $500 million to dozens of Nassar's victims.
The documentary was first announced in February 2021 and is being produced by Clooney and his longtime filmmaking partner, Grant Hesloff, along with Sports Illustrated Studios/101 Studios.
Based on Jon Wertheim Sports Illustrated's October 2020 story “Why aren't more people talking about Ohio State's sexual abuse scandal?”.
a spokesperson for Clooney said The independent he was not available to talk about the documentary “at this time.”
A spokesperson for Max's owner Warner Media said they had no information to share about a potential release date.
Ohio State did not respond to a request for comment about the documentary.
With heavy Hollywood backers and a director with an Oscar- and Emmy-winning pedigree, the film is likely to attract significant Oscar buzz, which could also affect its release date.