Patricia Hearst and the SLA

LORELAI: She’s brainwashed. She’s Patricia Hearst and my mother is the SLA.

Patricia Hearst (born 1954), author and actress, the granddaughter of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, previously mentioned. She is best known for being kidnapped from her Berkeley apartment in February 1974, when she was 19, by an urban guerilla left-wing group called the Symbionese Liberation Army. The kidnapping was partly opportunistic, as Hearst lived near the SLA hideout.

According to Hearst’s testimony, she was kept locked in a closet for weeks, given SLA literature to read by flashlight. Offered the choice between joining the SLA or being killed by them, she joined them, and was given daily weapon drills. Over the next 18 months, she took part in high-profile robberies and kidnappings as a member of the SLA.

Patricia Hearst was arrested in September 1975, her defence arguing that she had been brainwashed and was acting under duress. She was convicted in March 1976 and sentenced to seven years in prison. Her sentence was commuted by President Jimmy Carter, and she was released in February 1979. After release, she married a policeman who had been part of her security while on bail, brought out a memoir in 1981, and appeared in several films by John Waters.

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