In the nearly 50 years since followers of Charles Manson brutally murdered seven people, including 26-year-old pregnant actress Sharon Tate, the morbid story has fascinated millions. But for Debra Tate, Sharon’s sister who was just 16 at the time of the killings, there’s nothing fascinating about what her family has endured. So when Hilary Duff confirmed that she’d be portraying Sharon Tate in a new movie on Instagram yesterday, February 6th, Debra was quick to express her disgust.
Specifically, Debra told People that she thinks Duff’s planned film, The Haunting of Sharon Tate, is “classless” and “exploitative.”
At least two other Manson murders movies are in the works ahead of the anniversary: Quentin Tarantino’s take on the summer of 1969 and Charlie Says, a movie that will center more on the female followers of Manson who actually committed the crimes, with The Crown‘s Matt Smith in the role of Manson.
From what she’s heard about the Haunting movie in particular, Debra said she believes the film will be inaccurate and misleading.
The premise of The Haunting of Sharon Tate, which will also star Mean Girls actor Jonathan Bennett, reportedly revolves around a premonition Tate was said to have had about being murdered. (The account seems to date back to a 1970 story in Fate.) But Debra says that premonition never actually happened.
Debra also said that she is disappointed that no one involved in the making of the movie had reached out to her for her input.
These victims’ stories deserve to be told — especially when criminals like Manson, who died in November at 83, and his followers have reached a kind of creepy cult status in the media and public’s consciousness. But telling their stories in a way that’s respectful of their lives and their family members is important, too.