It goes without saying that when Olivia Wilde agreed to star in Clint Eastwood’s “Richard Jewell” she didn’t believe she’d find herself in a controversy over the character she was playing, real-life Atlanta Journal Constitution reporter Kathy Scruggs.  The portrayal of Scruggs has been criticised by both independent media who have seen the film and the AJC itself as depicting Scruggs using sex for sourcing.  Following the bombing at the 1996 Olympic Games, Scruggs and fellow AJC reporter Ron Martz broke a story that the hero who found the explosives, Richard Jewell (played by Paul Walter Hauser) , may have actually planted the bomb..  That report had little corroborating evidence and Jewell was eventually cleared but only after his name was dragged for weeks through the mud.

READ MORE: Clint Eastwood’s “Richard Jewell” [Review]

The film was written by screenwriter Billy Ray (“Captain Phillips,” “Shattered Glass”).  It features a scene where Scruggs character appears to use flirtatious or sexual advances (its debatable) to convince an FBI agent, a composite fictional character played by Jon Hamm, to give her information on potential suspects in planting the bomb.

Over 20 years later, the AJC has now threatened to sue Warner Bros. if it does not clarify that the picture is a work of fiction.  The studio, on the other hand, has vowed to defend itself in court noting there is a disclaimer at the end of the picture that notes: “The film is based on actual historical events. Dialogue and certain events and characters contained in the film were created for the purposes of dramatization.”

This has been a totally unexpected scandal for Wilde, who is coming off massive critical acclaim for directing the comedy “Booksmart” earlier this year.  Initially, Wilde made statements about Scruggs in the following manner:

“She was incredibly successful as a cop reporter. She had a very close relationship with the cops and the FBI helping to tell their story, and yes, by all accounts she had relationships with different people in that field. But what I resented was this character being boiled down to one inferred scene and I don’t hear anyone complaining about Jon Hamm’s character as being inferred that he also had a relationship with a reporter. It feels unfair that Kathy has been minimized in this way.”

With the picture opening in theaters tomorrow and the controversy seemingly neverending, Wilde took to twitter to “clarify” her initial statements.

Wilde’s new public tweets clearly put the onus of how Scruggs was portrayed on Ray and Eastwood. That being said, someone as smart and politically sophisticated as Wilde couldn’t see how Scruggs would be perceived is somewhat of a head-scratcher.  After initially strong reviews following its AFI Fest premiere, “Jewell” was seen as a potential awards player.  In fact, Wilde’s co-star Kathy Bates, who played Jewell’s mother, earned a Supporting Actress Golden Globe nomination earlier this week.  As the debate rages on, it’s likely those Oscar ambitions have faded.

Scruggs former editor at the AJC, Bert Roughton, wrote in a September editorial fearful of the film, “To defame a dead woman and to accuse her of doing the worst thing in her profession is just cruel,”  the former editor added. “To convict her of the mortal sin of trading sex for a story, it’s the worst thing conceivable you can do to a journalist. It’s one thing to debate the journalist, but to destroy someone’s reputation eternally — because for the rest of time, this movie will be out.”

“Richard Jewell” opens nationwide tomorrow.