Turner was convicted of sexual assault and was a former Stanford University student and swimmer. He was sentenced to six months in jail for assaulting an unconscious young woman on the university's campus.
Turner's jail sentence is short, but it's actually longer than what most assailants receive for the crime. Regardless, it's a short sentencing compared to what he could have been given by the judge.
The judge gave him such a short sentence because Turner is young and does not have a previous criminal record. He also gave a short sentence because he worried jail time could "have a severe impact on [Turner]."
One could argue being sexually assaulted while unconscious could also have a severe impact on someone.
Tatum, like many of us, thought this punishment was not enough for the crime Turner committed. In an interview at Cannes, Tatum said,
If you start doing that, where do you stop? Where is the line? I don't think it's right. I think he should have been punished, personally.
Tatum went on to say,
It's like if you killed someone and got caught red-handed and just because you went to a nice school and you were a good swimmer, you somehow get a lesser sentence.
Much has been made about the emphasis on Turner's swimming record. The survivor herself spoke about this discrimination in a passionate letter she read in court. She spoke about how his swimming record is continually listed in news pieces about the assault as if it's relevant to the crime. She said,
And then, at the bottom of the article, after I learned about the graphic details of my own sexual assault, the article listed his swimming times. She was found breathing, unresponsive with her underwear six inches away from her bare stomach curled in fetal position. By the way, he's really good at swimming. Throw in my mile time if that's what we're doing. I'm good at cooking, put that in there, I think the end is where you list your extracurriculars to cancel out all the sickening things that've happened.
Like Tatum said, going to a nice school and being good at swimming doesn't have anything to do with the severity of a crime you committed. It is still a crime. Turner is still a convicted sexual assailant.