Birth of a Nation actress Gabrielle Union says the film is important for her but she cannot take rape allegations on its director and her co-star Nate Parker lightly.
In an opinion piece for Los Angeles times, she addressed the accusations against Parker and wrote “As important and ground-breaking as this film is, I cannot take these allegations lightly.”
The 43-year-old star, who portrays a victim of sexual assault in the movie, said she accepted the role because she could connect to it as she was herself raped at gunpoint at the age of 19.
“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,” she
The Bring It On actress added that she does not know what actually happened between Parker and the woman, who claimed he raped her. “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.”
In 1999, Parker and co-writer Jean Celestin were accused of rape by a female classmate. It was also revealed that the victim killed herself in 2012. Though Parker was acquitted, the case has come back to haunt him close to the release of the movie.
The Birth of a Nation is based on the story of Nat Turner, who led a slave rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia in 1831. Parker is playing the lead in the film. It will hit the theatres on October 7.