'When They See Us' honors real Central Park 5 at Emmys

NEW YORK (AP) — The searing TV series on the plight of the Central Park Five created a memorable Emmy moment Sunday when the five exonerated men stood and were honored at the awards show.

The four-part Netflix series explores the true story of five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were coerced into confessing to a rape they didn't commit in 1989 and follows them over the course of 25 years to their eventual exoneration.

Show creator Ava DuVernay lost in the directing and writing categories but Jharrel Jerome won for best lead actor in a limited series.

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2019 Emmys: Jharrel Jerome wins for When They See Us
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2019 Emmys: Jharrel Jerome wins for When They See Us
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 22: <> onstage during the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 22: (EDITORS NOTE: This image is a retransmission) Jharrel Jerome accepts the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie award for 'When They See Us' onstage during the 71st Emmy Awards on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Jharrel Jerome accepts the Outstanding Lead Actor, Limited Series or TV Movie award for “When They See Us” onstage during the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Jharrel Jerome accepts the Outstanding Lead Actor, Limited Series or TV Movie award for “When They See Us” onstage during the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Jharrel Jerome accepts the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie award for 'When They See Us' onstage during the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Jharrel Jerome accepts the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie award for 'When They See Us' onstage during the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
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"I feel like I should just be in the Bronx right now, just chilling, waiting for my mom's cooking. But I am here in front of my inspirations," said Jerome, a New Yorker whose mother told him about this ugly chapter in city history.

He then acknowledged the Central Park Five — Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise — who had been invited.

"This is for Raymond, Yusef, Antron, Kevin, and King Korey Wise. Thank you so much, it's an honor. It's a blessing," said Jerome.

Some of the men raised fists in the air, while others, including Wise, had tears in their eyes. Jerome played Wise in the series.

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Central Park Five through the years
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Central Park Five through the years
Raymond Santana, right, Kevin Richardson, and Yusef Salaam, left, react to supporters Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, in New York. The three men who were exonerated in the 1989 Central Park Jogger case, were in court for a hearing in a $250 million federal lawsuit they filed against the city after their sentences were vacated. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 12: Central Park rape suspect Kevin Richardson. (Photo by Gene Kappock/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Kevin Richardson is photographed during a rally outside Federal court, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, in New York. Richardson and three other men, who were exonerated in the 1989 Central Park Jogger case, were in court for a hearing in a $250 million federal lawsuit they filed against the city after their sentences were vacated. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2000: Anton McCray, accused of raping and beating a Central Park jogger, walks to court with the Rev. Al Sharpton. (Photo by Clarence Davis/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Honoree Antron McCray attends The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California's 25th annual Awards Luncheon at the JW Marriott at L.A. Live in Los Angeles on June 7, 2019. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP) (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 16: Central Park rape suspect Kevin Richardson. (Photo by Gene Kappock/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
With Raymond Santana, right, at his side, Kevin Richardson, left, speaks during a news conference in front of City Hall, Friday June 27, 2014 in New York. Santana and Richardson are two of five men exonerated in the Central Park jogger rape case that the New York City comptroller has approved a tentative $40 million settlement for their wrong conviction in the 1989 Central Park jogger attack. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 23: Raymond Santana, the last of the Central Park jogger defendants, is escorted from the Queensboro Correctional Facility in Long Island City. Santana remained in jail on drug charges when the convictions of the five defendants in the rape case were overturned last week. He was freed today when a Supreme Court judge reduced his sentence on the drug charge. (Photo by Andrew Savulich/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Raymond Santana is photographed during a rally outside Federal court, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 in New York. Santana and three other men who were exonerated in the 1989 Central Park Jogger case, were in court for a hearing in a $250 million federal lawsuit they filed against the city after their sentences were vacated. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 11: Kharey Wise testifies against the death penalty at a hearing before the New York State Assembly at Pace University. Wise, who was wrongfully convicted of beating and raping a woman jogger in Central Park in 1989, spent 15 years in prison. He was released when the real assailant confessed to the crime. (Photo by Debbie Egan-Chin/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 20:(L-R) Kevin Richardson, Antron Mccray, Raymond Santana Jr., Korey Wise, and Yusef Salaam, collectively known as the "Central Park Five", attend the World Premiere of Netflix's "When They See Us" at the Apollo Theater on May 20, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 14: Yusef Salaam listens to his sister, Aisha, during news conference at the City Council offices on Broadway. Salaam, one of the five men convicted in the Central Park jogger rape case, spent over 6 years in prison before his conviction was overturned in 2002. Salaam will be filing a lawsuit against the city for wrongful imprisonment. (Photo by Mike Albans/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Yusef Salaam is photographed during a rally outside Federal court, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, in New York. Salaam and three other men, who were exonerated in the 1989 Central Park Jogger case, were in court for a hearing in a $250 million federal lawsuit they filed against the city after their sentences were vacated. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
(L-R) Honorees Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise, Raymond Santana, Antron McCray and Kevin Richardson attend The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California's 25th annual Awards Luncheon at the JW Marriott at L.A. Live in Los Angeles on June 7, 2019. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP) / The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo by VALERIE MACON has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: Korey Wise] instead of [Kharey Wise]. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention[s] from all your online services and delete it (them) from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it (them) to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require. (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 23: Central Park rape suspect Kevin Richardson arrives at court. (Photo by Gene Kappock/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Raymond Santana, left, and Kevin Richardson, right, together during a press conference in front of City Hall, Friday, June 27, 2014 in New York. Santana and Richardson are two of five men exonerated in the Central Park jogger rape case that the New York City comptroller has approved a tentative $40 million settlement for their wrong conviction in the 1989 Central Park jogger attack. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Central Park Jogger Jury Selection -- Yusef Salaam, tall with flattop leaves court with unidentified woman. Probably his mother. Antron McCray leaves court with his parents (short, suit). June 13, 1990. (Photo by Marc Vodofsky/New York Post/Photo Archives, LLC via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 20: Antron Mccray at The Apollo Theater on May 20, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 11: Kharey Wise arrives at Pace University to testify against the death penalty at a hearing before the New York State Assembly. Wise, who was wrongfully convicted of beating and raping a female jogger in Central Park in 1989, spent 15 years in prison. He was released when the real assailant confessed to the crime. (Photo by Debbie Egan-Chin/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 27: Yusef Salaam, one of the five men wrongfully convicted of raping a woman in Central Park in 1989, speaks at a press conference on city halls' steps after it was announced that the men, known as the "Central Park Five," had settled with New York City for approximately $40 million dollars on June 27, 2014 in New York City. All five men spent time in jail, until their convictions were overturned in 2002 after being proven innocent. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 07: Honoree Yusef Salaam becomes tearful as he speaks at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California's 25th annual awards luncheon on June 7, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Salaam was one of the five teenagers wrongfully convicted of raping a jogger in New York's Central Park in 1989. The five were dubbed 'The Central Park Five' at the time and have since been released and completely exonerated. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 09: Anton McCray, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise onstage at the Netflix "When They See Us" FYSEE Event at Raleigh Studios on June 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Handout/Getty Images for Netflix)
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The case of the Central Park Five cut the city along racial lines from the outset, with the victim being a young white woman. It drew worldwide attention.

It took years for the five to be exonerated, and they spent most of their youth in prison. Another man later confessed to the attack.

The series has had real-life consequences for former "Central Park Five" prosecutor Linda Fairstein. Fallout from the Netflix show has led to her being dropped by her book publisher, Dutton. Fairstein also resigned as a Board of Trustees member at Vassar College and from the victims-services agency, Safe Horizon.

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