Gabrielle Union has finally spoken out on the Nate Parker rape trial scandal that has turned the tide against his film Birth of a Nation, in which she stars. The actress penned an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, saying she "cannot take ... the allegations lightly."
In the lengthy piece, Union also shares her personal experience with sexual assault (she was raped at gunpoint 24 years ago) and why it was so important for her to play the role of a rape victim, as she does in the film.
In the piece, which is earning her a round of applause on Twitter, she writes, "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."
She falls short, however, of saying whether or not she believes Nate Parker raped a girl. "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," she writes. "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."
Read her full essay here, and see all the hype that surrounded Birth of a Nation before the scandal broke on BET Breaks, above.
(Photo from left: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Relativity Media, Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)