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As she prepares to return to Italy, the country where she was imprisoned for years, Amanda Knox is speaking out about what it's like to live in the public eye as a true crime curiosity.
Knox, now 31, spent nearly four years in an Italian prison after being convicted of murdering her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, in 2007. The case quickly became an international spectacle, with audiences the world over feverishly debating the subject of her innocence. She and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito appealed their initial convictions and were found innocent, only to be convicted once again at a second trial. Knox was ultimately acquitted a final time by Italy's highest court in 2015, and went on to become a journalist and advocate for the wrongly convicted.
Knox is currently planning to return to the country that hosted her own personal nightmare, but ahead of that, she explained her decision to make her Instagram public in an essay published Tuesday by Medium, where she ruminates on what it means for the details of her life to be media fodder.
She first began to think of her life as “other people’s content” with the release of Netflix’s “Amanda Knox” documentary in 2016, when she caught sight of a billboard advertising her story with the words “monster” and “victim” on the billboards, she explained.
“I remember standing in Times Square underneath those giant photos of my face, pedestrians passing by me, none the wiser. That was bizarre, and it was bizarre in a way that forced me to reckon with what it meant for my life to be other people’s content,” she wrote.
The following year she made her Instagram public for the first time — a move that was viewed as ill-advised and shocking to some, but what she described as simply unveiling “all my amazing cat videos.”
Explaining that decision in her essay for Medium, Knox wrote, “I did so because I just wanted to have what every other person around me had, the freedom to shout into the wind and say, ‘Here I am!’”
“The freedom to strike up an unexpected conversation with a friendly digital stranger,” she continued. “I have that now, but for me, it comes with the cost of absorbing insults and hatred and having my life fed into the content machine that seems endlessly hungry, especially now that I’m going back to Italy.”
Knox is scheduled to return to Italy for the first time since her final acquittal, having been invited by the Italy Innocence Project, a nonprofit organization, to speak about her experiences being wrongfully convicted and the media’s handling of her case and others like it.
She is set to arrive on Thursday and give a talk at the conference on Saturday in Modena, the Telegraph reports.
In her piece for Medium, Knox grappled with her status as an unwilling public figure and voiced her desire to do better as a journalist.
“The mistakes of the Italian judicial system and the ravenous appetite of a media that does not distinguish between a person’s life and clickworthy content pushed me into the public sphere,” she wrote. “I’ve since chosen to remain here, to let the world see my salade nicoise and cat photos. But this doesn’t mean I’m happy with the way my life is consumed or how the lives of others get reduced to content.”
“Responsible media must avoid this easy, reductive impulse,” she continued. “Someone’s life may make a great story, but it’s still their life, and as a journalist myself, I feel a moral duty to respect that.”
Ahead of her return, Knox once again engaged with her social media audience, posting a photo to her Instagram account which shows her seemingly hanging from a cliff.
“Three days until I return to Italy for the first time since leaving prison. Feeling frayed, so I made my own inspirational workplace poster. ‘Hang in there!’ Just imagine I'm a kitten,” she wrote in the caption.
A lawyer for the Kercher family called Knox’s impending appearance “inappropriate and uncalled for,” according to the Telegraph.
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