The XX Factor

Why Isn’t There More American Outrage Over Amanda Knox?

Timothy Egan at the New York Times has been defending Amanda Knox , the American student who is accused of killing her study-abroad roommate in Perugia, for at least a year. By all legitimate accounts, the case against Knox is baseless. And yet the European tabloids have painted her as a Satanist/sex fiend who killed her roommate, Meredith Kercher, in a bizarre sex ritual. Besides Egan, not that many America journalists have expressed clear outrage. Why?

As Egan points out, “there is no physical evidence placing Amanda Knox at the blood-splattered crime scene, the room where the killing took place. Zero.” In addition, there is “abundant evidence linking a drifter named Rudy Guede to the scene -blood, DNA, prints and his own admission.” Guede has been convicted of killing Kercher, and yet Italian prosecutors continued the case against Knox based on a flimsy motive. They say she and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, accidentally slit Meredith’s throat in a sex game gone wrong. Neither Sollecito nor Knox has any prior history of criminal or sociopathic behavior. Not only that, but, according to ABC News, t he prosecutors changed their mind in recent days about Knox’s motive . Apparently she and Sollecito wanted to punish Kercher for being “prissy,” and so they raped and killed her.

This sounds ludicrous. Amanda’s life has been almost destroyed by this ongoing trial (as have the lives of her family members). So why aren’t more American news outlets outraged by Amanda’s imprisonment? Perhaps they’ve been swayed by prosecutorial lies and leaks, just like Italians have been. Egan writes:

I was in Italy last month, and found that public opinion had shifted somewhat. There was more skepticism about the case. Still, to many Italians, Amanda Knox is a spoiled, amoral American college girl who has not shown sufficient remorse for the death of her roommate. The narrative of the manipulative she-devil is widespread.

The rumors about Knox make her into an unsympathetic figure: Even though she didn’t kill her roommate, people might think she was bringing home lots of men to her Perugian apartment and doing cartwheels at the police station. Perhaps the narrative of the “manipulative she-devil” is powerful enough to cross continents.