Gabrielle Union on Sexual Harassment and Assault: 'The Floodgates Have Opened for White Women'


Gabrielle Union’s book We’re Going To Need More Wine was released in mid-October, just a few weeks after the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke open. In her book, she recounts her story of being sexually assaulted at 19, a story that unexpectedly became even more intensely relevant.

In an interview with the New York Times, Union explains how Weinstein and sharing experiences about sexual assault were a constant theme of her book tour. On the day it came out, Union told Robin Roberts in a promotional interview on Good Morning America that when she saw #MeToo trending, her arm went numb, which she explained was “post-traumatic stress syndrome from the rape.” Union says she heard hundreds of stories of abuse and assault from the women who came to see her on the tour, and she would weep in her hotel room at night.

Union says that her experience selling the book has been especially difficult as a black woman. Though it spent three weeks on the best seller list, many airports did not prominently display it, and in one extreme case, fans found it stacked in the back of the store in a cart.

“So I started asking people to tell me what stores this was happening in. You don’t want to alienate booksellers,” Ms. Union said, “but where’s my book?”

Union says in the interview that she would like to tour again, despite the initial difficulties. She also expressed frustration that the stories from women of color have not been prioritized in the coverage of sexual assault and harassment in the last few months:

“I think the floodgates have opened for white women,” she said. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence whose pain has been taken seriously. Whose pain we have showed historically and continued to show. Whose pain is tolerable and whose pain is intolerable. And whose pain needs to be addressed now.”
“If those people hadn’t been Hollywood royalty,” she asked, referring to some of the women who first spoke out about Harvey Weinstein. “If they hadn’t been approachable. If they hadn’t been people who have had access to parts and roles and true inclusion in Hollywood, would we have believed?”

“When we have the microphone,” she says, “how often do we pass it back to the people who are experiencing a different challenge, but who are equally worthy as having the microphone?”

You can read the full interview here.

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