11:00am PT by Chris Gardner
Oprah Winfrey Declines to Discuss Nate Parker's Rape Case
The chorus of voices weighing in on the rape case Nate Parker was involved in 17 years ago while a wrestler at Penn State University continues to grow after the director's star, The Birth of a Nation's Gabrielle Union (herself a rape survivor) wrote a passionate op-ed for the Los Angeles Times. "Addressing misogyny, toxic masculinity, and rape culture is necessary. Addressing what should and should not be deemed consent is necessary," she wrote. But don't add Oprah Winfrey's name to the list of voices — at least not yet.
Winfrey was among the first outside a festival to see the Nat Turner slave rebellion pic when she screened it privately with Gayle King. "Nate Parker, we just saw your film ... that you produced, wrote, directed, starred in. … We bow to you, my brother," she said in a Feb. 1 Instagram video. So it's fair to ask what her take on Parker is now.
But when THR caught up with the mogul Aug. 29 on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank before the premiere of Queen Sugar (which she co-created with Ava DuVernay and executive produced), Winfrey politely declined to comment. "I will not talk about it on the red carpet. Not the place, but thank you." Also abstaining was DuVernay, whose series coincidentally includes a storyline about a woman accusing NBA players of gang rape.
Queen Sugar premieres Sept. 6 on Winfrey’s OWN.
A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.