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Gabrielle Union Writes Op-Ed Article About Nate Parker's Rape Allegations

Gabrielle Union Writes Op-Ed Article About Nate Parker's Rape Allegations

Gabrielle Union has written an open letter about the resurfaced rape allegations against her The Birth of a Nation co-star Nate Parker.

The 43-year-old actress plays a rape victim in the upcoming film, written and directed by Nate, and she is also a survivor of sexual assault in real life.

“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,” Gabrielle wrote in the letter published by the Los Angeles Times. “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. On that night, 17-odd years ago, did Nate have his date’s consent?” she continued. “It’s very possible he thought he did. Yet by his own admission he did not have verbal affirmation; and even if she never said ‘no,’ silence certainly does not equal “yes.” Although it’s often difficult to read and understand body language, the fact that some individuals interpret the absence of a ‘no’ as a ‘yes’ is problematic at least, criminal at worst. That’s why education on this issue is so vital.”

Gabrielle went on to write that she and her husband Dwyane Wade are cognizant of their responsibility of raising their sons and speaking to them about the “boundaries between the sexes.”

“To that end, we are making an effort to teach our sons about affirmative consent. We explain that the onus is on them to explicitly ask if their partner consents. And we tell them that a shrug or a smile or a sigh won’t suffice. They have to hear ‘yes,’” she wrote.

Go to to read the full piece.

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Photos: Getty
Posted to: Gabrielle Union, Nate Parker

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  • Mark Jekabson

    Bravo to Ms. Union for that well thought-out and well spoken Op-Ed piece. It made me reconsider seeing her movie based on the argument in favor opening paths to discussion rather than closing them off for the purposes remaining aloof and unchallenged. The added weight to the subject matter because of Nate Parker’s history should be contributive to a deeper understanding for all involved.

  • Roscoe

    In other words: “What my former boss may or may not have done is ‘problematic’, but please justify my paycheck and the film’s existence by giving your money to a very likely rapist and his formerly convicted rapist buddy. Through your donation, we can solve this whole rape thing by chatting about masculinity. Thank you for your support.”

  • Roscoe

    Do you really need this movie to understand that rape is wrong? This movie is the gateway to all meaningful discussion? If parents are not teaching their children about right and wrong and holding them accountable, we get people like Nate Parker and Jean Celestin. Believe it or not, there were books, television shows, and films around during and before their time which tackled morality and rape in particular. You don’t need Hollyweird, Hollyweird needs you.

  • busted

    Too bad the victim is not able to write an Op Ed about her experience.

  • Sim

    He’s just a troll and this op Ed is just damage control.

    Who the hell does Gabriel Union think she is to give cover to perpetrators of a gang rape of unconcious teenager because she’s a women.

    She wasn’t there, doesn’t know the victim. Who is she to justify or rationalize or use it for some “greater meaning”.

    Especially when victim can’t isn’t alive to speak for herself.

  • Sim

    You forget were she uses race as a shield, question is what fucking planet does she live on. Cause rape in America is exclusively black on white crime, half white women violently raped their assailants are black men. And are many horrific crimes, that involve gang rape and kidnapping.

    While black women are raped exclusively by black men, 2013 , 99.4% black women violently raped their assailant was black.
    And same statics bare out annually for the last 2 decades.

  • Mark Jekabson

    I don’t need this movie to understand that rape is wrong. From what I do understand it’s not exclusively about rape but about the circumstances of the Nat Turner revolt which is a worthwhile subject for me since I don’t know much about it other than the fact that William Styron wrote a book on the subject in the 60′s that was also controversial. This is ‘contributive’ as well because Styron was challenged by his readership and others as to whether or not he was qualified to even write on the subject of a slave revolt because he was a white man and what did he know. Teaching your children about right and wrong doesn’t necessarily mean boycotting any and all movies by people who have ever committed or been accused of committing a crime in order to imply that once someone has done something wrong they should no longer have anything to say. In a rhetorical debate it’s called an ‘ad hominem’ attack where you discredit a persons argument by virtue of who the person is or some quality intrinsic to them rather than meeting the argument on it’s own terms. It’s also a logical fallacy that leaves people with nothing substantial to contribute other than praise or insult. Hopefully this film is better than that.

  • Roscoe

    There’s so much bs in most of what these people do and say. I usually just focus on the most pertinent and hypocritical aspects from my perspective.

  • Roscoe

    You misunderstand my argument on several points. Union is trying to pivot the viewing of the movie into some sort gateway to discussing social issues as if using entertainment in that way is proper or effective. As if this “social value” should be prioritized over the serious issues surrounding Parker and Celestin. You yourself implied that you bought into her argument with your initial comment.

    My “right and wrong” statement is about the fact that it is the parents’ job to raise the kind of people who respect people enough to not rape them and to not harass and humiliate them after being accused. Entertainment existed and exists which speaks to morality, but it didn’t stop Parker and Celestin. I can’t say that there is absolutely no teaching value in entertainment, but it speaks to how far we have fallen as a society to think we should rely on it for that purpose.

    This movie is fictional. It is “loosely based on a true story.” You can verify this. A pivotal point in the movie depicts a gang rape of Turner’s wife. From what I’ve read, it is inconclusive that Turner even had a wife and there is no historical evidence a gang rape set off the rebellion. All of that to say that you should not be looking to Hollyweird for history lessons. There are plenty of well-researched, non fictional books about the Nat Turner story.

    Why would an accused rapist and his formerly convicted co-gang rapist/co-writer insert a fictional gang rape into this story? Most arguments I have seen against paying to see this movie do not argue that the movie is bad because Parker made it. The argument is that an unrepentant rapist and his co-rapist should not be enriched while they lecture us about the past while telling us to forget theirs. Read his first two interviews. Self-centeredness and crassness galore. It isn’t about punishing who he was, it is about punishing who he is. This movie may be the greatest film ever, but I will have to be paid to see it.

  • Jeremy Riley Reay

    I’m glad you understand intersectionality so well…

  • VanityInsecurity

    Would she have penned whatever you want to call this.. if Nate Parker were a white man? Trying to save your pathetic racist movie?

    Newsflash racist.. Black men do most if not all of the raping in the world. check out stats.

  • Mark Jekabson

    My initial response was that the op-ed made me ‘reconsider’ seeing the film, just as your argument is making me reconsider not seeing it.

  • toastie postie

    So true. And that is a major problem. He and his cronies made her life a living hell, even after the rape. He never thought about it in all these years, as he has stated.

  • tom

    Fuck you,you work for the rapist

  • toastie postie

    Sorry. Gabriel Union, just NO. Ugh.

  • toastie postie

    Sorry. Gabriel Union, just NO. Ugh.

  • Mark Jekabson

    I don’t. I was speaking on my own behalf about the value of informed discussion. Even moral revulsion has a purpose in art. It can be the impetus for a change in conscience.

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