Every year on March 25th. we at Back2Stonewall post about the 1995 murder of Scott Amedure at the hands of acquaintance Johnathan Schmidt after Amedure revealed he was romantically interested in him during the March 5th, 1995 taping of “The Jenny Jones Show,’ on secret admirers.
Now 25 years later NETFLIX’s new docuseries Trial by Media, whose executive producers include George Clooney, Court TV creator Steven Brill and CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin takes a closer look at the infamous “talk-show gay crush murder” and its subsequent trials.
The first episodeof the series deals with a young man from Michigan, Jonathan Schmitz, who shot and killed acquaintance Scott Amedure days after Amedure, a gay man revealed his crush on Schmitz on an episode of the Jenny Jones Show, a “gotcha”-style daytime program which thrived on ginned-up conflict between guests with little regard for off-air consequences and aftermath which in this case led to the homophobic hate crime of murder.
Interviews with family members of both the victim and his killer, the lawyers who represented both sides and court room footage of both the murder trial and the lawsuit brought by Amedure’s brother against The Jenny Jones shows not only how the media sensationalized this murder in 1995 but also the homophobia prevalent of that time period and which still exists today.
Future episodes will spotlight Bernard Goetz, a white man who unrepentantly shot four black teenagers on the New York subway in 1984 but was misbranded the “subway vigilante” and on the death of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed west African immigrant who was shot at, in what became an incendiary headline, 41 times by New York police in the vestibule of his Bronx apartment.