40 years after she was kidnapped by terrorists, Patty Hearst’s story will be retold in a new docuseries. Learn all about his heiress and how she ended up robbing a bank for her kidnappers!
1. She was kidnapped by the SLA on Feb. 4, 1974. The kidnapping of Patty Hearst, 63, captured the attention of the United States during a very turbulent time, as it was one of the few instances where someone “as wealthy and reputable” as Patty was abducted, according to The Smithsonian. Her kidnapping and the following events that saw her rob a San Francisco bank will be recounted in The Radical Story of Patty Hearst, a CNN Original series debuting on Feb. 11 at 9 PM ET.
On a terrifying day in 1974, Patty, the granddaughter of publishing mogul William Randolph Hearst, was taken from her Berkley, California apartment. Five persons broke into her home, beat her unconscious, and loaded her body into the back of a stolen car. Days later, a letter arrived at a nearby Berkeley radio station, announcing that the Symbionese Liberation Army had kidnapped her.
2. Her kidnappers made impossible demands. The SLA – “symbionese” referring to the group’s “political symbiosis,” as they merged gay liberation, Marxism and other socialist movements together – claimed Patty was a “prisoner of war.” They demanded that Patty’s father, Randolph Hearst, 85, feed everyone in Oakland and San Francisco for free in exchange for his daughter’s release. Randolph wasn’t William’s sole heir and didn’t control the family’s assets. He had to take out a loan to finance the immediate donation of $ 2 million worth of food to the poor, but after the distribution fell apart, the SLA refused to released Patty. While their prisoner, Patty claims she suffered abuse and was sexually assaulted by the group’s leaders.
3. She “joined” the SLA and helped them rob a bank. Two months after she was kidnapped, Patty announced on an audiotape that she was joining the SLA and adopting the name “Tania.” On April 15, 1974, she was recorded on surveillance footage wielding a M1 carbine rifle while robbing the Sunset District branch of the Hibernia Bank. She and the SLA escaped and were on the run for nearly a year. Patti was captured and arrested in September 1975.
4. Patty received 35 years in prison, but served less than two. “In all of our history there is no case like Patty Hearst. She was a wealthy, secure woman who turned up after 60 days after being kidnapped, as an alleged warrior,” her defense attorney, F. Lee Bailey Jr., said, per Today “And the trial was about how did that happen.” Many doubted the legitimacy of Patty’s “Stockholm Syndrome,” or the psychological condition in which a kidnapped victim begins to identify closely with his or her captors. Others said she was a textbook example. Ultimately, she was sentenced to 35 years in prison, but it was later reduced to seven years. She would be out in 22-months, President Jimmy Carter commuted her sentence in 1979. President Bill Clinton gave her a full pardon in 2001. She married Bernard Lee Shaw after she was released. Their marriage lasted until his death in 2013. They had two children together – Gillian Hearst-Shaw and model Lydia Hearst-Shaw.
5. She’s not involved in her new docu-series. “Over the years I have been approached many times to discuss my ordeal, and I have answered many questions. I have spoken the truth about my experience and even wrote a 499-page book where I lay it all out, as painful as it was to relive,” she told TMZ. As for The Radical Story of Patty Hearst, the series based off of Jeffrey Tobin’s book, she is having none of it.
“It was offensive to me that a man would have the audacity to tell a woman that he would have the last word on her trauma,” she said. She also says Tobin’s book “cites one of my kidnappers as its main source, romanticizes my rape and torture and calls my abduction a ‘rollicking adventure’.”
HollywoodLifers, are you going to watch this docu-series.