On Tuesday (10 January), the streaming platform released a feature-length look at Lawrence, who became a viral sensation in 2013, and the deadly events that followed.
Lawrence – whose real name is Caleb McGillvary – was a homeless person who prevented a man from trying to kill a woman after “smashing” him round the head with a hatchet.
After a video of him detailing the incident was shared online, Lawrence was hailed a hero and received instant fame.
Chat shows hosts lined up to interview him, and musicians, including Justin Bieber, requested collaborations with him.
However, Lawrence’s story didn’t end there. Just three months later, he was on trial for the murder of New Jersey attorney Joseph Galfy, which he claims was self-defence after being “drugged and raped”.
The documentary is currently riding high at the top of Netflix’s most-watched charts, and those who have watched it are expressing frustration; those interviewed for the film fail to acknowledge that Lawrence had been leeched on by the media.
Featured in the film are reporters, TV producers and family members with whom Lawrence had problems with.
Viewers are also not happy that the documentary ignores the media’s exploitmment of Lawrence as well as his allegation against Galfy.
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According to Lawrence himself, he spoke with two Netflix producers about his accusations and, from prison, he contactedThe Tab about the documentary, accusing the streamer of “ruthlessly exploiting” his story.
“So, Netflix is making a movie about my life story before I was arrested,” he wrote, adding: “But they refuse to pay me anything for it… if someone made a movie about OJ Simpson’s football career, you’d better believe he’d be making bank off it.”
It’s worth noting that, in the UK, TV regulation service Ofcom states: “No payment, promise of payment, or payment in kind, may be made to convicted or confessed criminals whether directly or indirectly for a programme contribution by the criminal (or any other person) relating to his/her crime/s.”
Simpson was found not guilty of double-murder in 1995.
The Independent has contacted Netflix and the film’s producers for comment.
If you’ve been raped or sexually assaulted, you can contact your nearest Rape Crisis organisation for specialist, independent and confidential support: www.rapecrisis.org.uk.
In the US, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 800 273 8255 or chat online for help.