Nate Parker has been surrounded in controversy since it was discovered last month that he had previously been accused of rape 17 years ago. He is about to release in November his highly anticipated film Birth of a Nation, which he directed and stars in, after it critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
Parker was accused of rape while he was a student at Penn State University and he was acquitted during the trial back in 1999. He released a statement last month after learning that his accuser committed suicide back in 2012.
Today [Friday, September 2], Gabrielle Union, who stars in the upcoming film, wrote an op-ed piece in the L.A. Times addressing the recent news about the director. Union is a survivor of rape, so she wanted to share her reaction to Parker’s past behavior.
“Rape is a wound that throbs long after it heals. And for some of us the throbbing gets too loud. Post traumatic stress syndrome is very real and chips away at the soul and sanity of so many of us who have survived sexual violence…Since Nate Parker’s story was revealed to me, I have found myself in a state of stomach-churning confusion. I took this role because I related to the experience. I also wanted to give a voice to my character, who remains silent throughout the film. In her silence, she represents countless black women who have been and continue to be violated. Women without a voice, without power. Women in general. But black women in particular. I knew I could walk out of our movie and speak to the audience about what it feels like to be a survivor…As important and ground-breaking as this film is, I cannot take these allegations lightly…Regardless of what I think may have happened that night 17 years ago, after reading all 700 pages of the trial transcript, I still don’t actually know. Nor does anyone who was not in that room. But I believe that the film is an opportunity to inform and educate so that these situations cease to occur on college campuses, in dorm rooms, in fraternities, in apartments or anywhere else young people get together to socialize.”
You can read her full piece here.