In a series of tweets, Wilde said it was "important to make my position clear" about the Scruggs portrayal which has stirred up outrage, especially a scene which implies the reporter traded sex for information from an FBI official (played by Jon Hamm).
"Contrary to a swath of recent headlines, I do not believe that Kathy 'traded sex for tips,' Nothing in my research suggested she did so, and it was never my intention to suggest she had," Wilde tweeted. "That would be an appalling and misogynistic dismissal of the difficult work she did."
Wilde wrote that in the "fictional dramatization of the story" for the film, Scruggs and the FBI agent who leaked false information to her "were in a pre-existing romantic relationship, not a transactional exchange of sex for information."
'Richard Jewell' trailer: Clint Eastwood spotlights bombing hero unfairly turned suspect
My previous comments about female sexuality were lost in translation, so let me be clear: I do not believe sex-positivity and professionalism are mutually exclusive. Kathy Scruggs was a modern, independent woman whose personal life should not detract from her accomplishments.— olivia wilde (@oliviawilde) December 12, 2019
The "Booksmart" director suggested any misinterpretation came from director Eastwood.
"I cannot speak for the creative decisions made by the filmmakers, as I did not have a say in how the film was ultimately crafted," she wrote.
In another tweet Wilde discussed the positive aspects of shaping the film's message as director: "One of the things, I love about directing is the ability to control the voice and message of the film. As an actor, it’s more complicated, and I want to share my perspective on my role in the film 'Richard Jewell.' "
USA TODAY has reached out to Wilde, Warner Bros. Studio and Eastwood for comment.
The real-life Scruggs died in 2001.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote in Dec. 9 letter that the role of the respected reporter was "reduced to a sex-trading object in the film." In a statement, the AJC demanded that Warner Bros. issue a "statement publicly acknowledging that some events were imagined for dramatic purposes and artistic licence."
Wilde described Scruggs on Twitter as a "modern, independent woman whose personal life should not detract from her accomplishments."
"She unfortunately became a piece of the massive puzzle that was responsible for the brutal and unjust vilification of an innocent man, Richard Jewell, and that tragedy is what this film attempts to shed light on," she wrote.
Earlier this month Wilde had spoken to Variety, saying it was "a shame" that the Scruggs role "has been reduced to one inferred moment in the film.
“It’s a basic misunderstanding of feminism as pious, sexlessness," she said. "It happens a lot to women; we’re expected to be one-dimensional if we are to be considered feminists. There’s a complexity to Kathy, as there is to all of us, and I really admired her.”
Wilde said on Thursday that these comments were "lost in translation."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Richard Jewell': Olivia Wilde defends Clint Eastwood film portrayal