HBO Acquires George Clooney’s Feature Doc on Ohio State Abuse Scandal

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HBO has acquired the feature documentary about the alleged Ohio State sexual abuse scandal from Sports Illustrated and George Clooney’s Smokehouse Pictures, it was announced Tuesdsay. The film, first reported as a docuseries last year, is produced by Clooney and Grant Heslov of Smokehouse Pictures and David C. Glasser of 101 Studios. The documentary will debut on HBO and be available to stream on HBO Max, though no premiere date has been announced.

Oscar and Emmy winner Eva Orner (“Taxi to the Dark Side”) will direct the film, which will explore the experiences of the victims of OSU’s former athletics physician, Dr. Richard Strauss. These include hundreds of male student athlete victims, ranging from All-American wrestlers to football players and beyond, many of whom are speaking out publicly for the first time in this documentary. Former UFC heavyweight champion and OSU alum Mark Coleman, who first spoke with Sports Illustrated’s Jon Wertheim about his experiences, will also be one of the featured voices.

“I’m honored to join this incredible creative team,” Orner said. “This film is about the largest sexual abuse scandal in the history of American Higher Education. It will give the courageous men who were abused a powerful and clear voice.”

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A focal point of the film will be OSU’s failure to address the allegations that school officials knew about and Dr. Strauss’s crimes and still remained idle.

“Grant and I are very proud to be working on this project with HBO,” Clooney said. “It’s a devastating story about people in power abusing and then covering up their criminal actions against students. The fact that it hasn’t been resolved as-of-yet is deeply disturbing.”

“This story of power, abuse and enabling has been concealed for far too long,” David Hutkin, COO of 101 Studios, said. “It is because of the courage of these men who have decided to finally speak out that we can finally hold the abusers accountable. We are honored to be able to provide a platform to amplify the voices of these victims.”

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An independent investigative report released by OSU in 2019 said Strauss sexually abused at least 177 students over his 20-year tenure at the school. Due to the statue of limitations, a federal judge ruled in September 2021 that subsequent lawsuits from students against the school and athletic department could not proceed.

Strauss died by suicide in 2005.

Clooney and Heslov of Smokehouse Pictures serve as producers with Glasser of 101 Studios, Orner and Steven J Berger. Jon Wertheim along with Corey Salter, Colin Smeeton, and Marc Rosen of Sports Illustrated Studios with David Hutkin, Ron Burkle, Bob Yari of 101 Studios will executive produce.

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