Mother of journalist murdered by IS says filmmakers 'stole story

Mother of journalist murdered by IS says filmmakers 'stole story
James Foley's mother says filmmakers stole the story of her murdered journalist son, and did not consult her on the movie.
2 min read
14 September, 2018
James Foley was murdered in 2014 [AFP]

The mother of murdered journalist James Foley, has accused filmmakers of making a story based on her son's life and death at the hands of the Islamic State group without consulting her.

Diane Foley told journalists that Viper Club's storyline mirrors James' too much to be a coincidence

"This sounds like my son's story. This sounds like my story," she said, according to the Washington Post.

"It's so blatantly my story," she added, after viewing the premiere in Toronto, Canada.

Viper Club appears to mirror the life of James Foley and his mother, with Diana saying the character in the film, Helen Sterling, played by Susan Sarandon, is based on her.

Even the Viper Club name reflects the Vulture Club forum Foley was part of, before he travelled to Syria and was eventually kidnapped and murdered by IS militants.
The rest of the story is also uncannily similar, journalists have pointed out, including the job - nurse - that Helen Sterling has in the movie.

The character in the film is told not to speak publically about the kidnapping of James, has to deal with FBI agents who don't communicate with State Department officials who are trying to secure his release, and other experiences that were familiar with Diana.

Even Diana's efforts to contact people outside the government to assist in speaking to the kidnappers is also portrayed in the film.

James Foley was among a group of foreign journalists and aid workers held captive by IS, and eventually beheaded by the militants. Their murders were videoed and shared across the world by IS supporters, including via YouTube.

Co-writer and Director, Maryam Keshavarz, said that the film was inspired by James and the other hostages, and that she gathered information from hundreds of articles but it wasn't "one person's story".

Foley said she met the director after she became concerned that filmmakers might depict her son and the other journalists as a "wreckless adrenaline junkies".

Meeting her, she said that it was too late to change the film which was released one month later.

"The director represented this as a totally fictional story [but] she really knew our story rather intimately," she said.

Journalists have slammed the film, for the hurt it has caused James Foley's family.

"The mother of murdered journalist James Foley is deeply distressed by a new movie in which her own story appears to have been stolen without consultation or consent," said Washington Post Beirut bureau chief, Liz Sly, on Twitter.