Scruggs was involved in the coverage of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing, but the movie faced backlash from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) - the paper that Scruggs worked for - claiming the film "veers from reality."
Bosses from the paper sent a letter to Warner Bros., filmmaker Clint Eastwood and screenwriter Billy Ray, demanding a disclaimer be attached to the project, after finding the notion that Scruggs' character, played by Olivia Wilde, trades sex for news tips "defamatory," but the cast of the flick isn't convinced by the controversy.
"It's my understanding that the people making these accusations haven't seen the film yet," Hamm, who stars in the movie, told 11 Alive, adding that the film is derived from a book on the event. "I kind of feel like the irony in that is sort of ridiculous. Kathy is portrayed by Olivia in this film as she was, which is an incredibly nuanced individual. To reduce her to this one thing is not fair."
"I think that there were certainly suggestions of impropriety with her character, but there are also some suggestions of impropriety with the character that I play, and that's part of the tragedy of this story," he added.
Meanwhile, Paul Walter Hauser, who plays the titular character in the film, also addressed the backlash, calling AJC's accusations a "last-minute decision" and suggesting they "could have done their digging."
"Richard Jewell" hits theaters December 13.