HBO and George Clooney to Produce Documentary on Ohio State University Abuse Scandal, Eva Orner to Direct

A documentary film focusing on the recent sex abuse scandal at Ohio State University has begun production, HBO has announced.

The film is based on a 2020 Sports Illustrated cover story written by Jon Wertheim about allegations of sexual abuse that occurred at Ohio State University from 1978 to 1998. The story details how the university’s athletics physician Richard Strauss abused hundreds of male student athletes, mostly on the wrestling and football teams, and how the university swept the abuse under the rug. An independent investigation into the allegations was conducted in 2018, and concluded that the university new about the abuse as early as 1979 but did not report it to law enforcement. Strauss retired from the university in 1998, and died by suicide in 2005.

Eva Orner, an Oscar winner for the 2007 documentary “Taxi to the Dark Side,” will direct the film, which has begun production. The film is set to feature interviews with several of the victims, many of whom have not spoken publicly before. One of the interview subjects, UFC heavyweight champion Mark Coleman, first spoke about the abuse in Wertheim’s cover story.

“I’m honored to join this incredible creative team,” Orner said in a statement. “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.”

George Clooney and Grant Heslov will produce the film for Smokehouse Pictures, while David C. Glasser produces for 101 studios. Orner and Steven J Berger also produce. Marc Rosen executive produces for Sports Illustrated Studios, while Jon Wertheim, Corey Salter, Colin Smeeton and David Hutkin, Ron Burkle, Bob Yari of 101 Studios also executive produce. The film will premiere on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max.

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