As allegations of sexual harassment and assault continue to pour through Hollywood, Gabrielle Union is speaking out about the hot-button topic — and how women of color fit into the discussion.
According to the Times reporter, Union, 45, asserted strongly that women of color haven’t been heard as enthusiastically.
“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.”
Union’s book, We’re Going To Need More Wine, was released in mid-October, just a few weeks after the Weinstein scandal hit. In it, she recounts being raped at gunpoint at 19.
Union went on to wonder how the news of Weinstein’s alleged decades of sexual abuse and harassment would have been received if the first women to come forward hadn’t been members of “Hollywood royalty.”
“If they hadn’t been approachable,” she asked. “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, 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?” she continued.
(In a recent statement to PEOPLE, Weinstein’s attorneys, Blair Berk and Ben Brafman, said: “Mr. Weinstein has never at any time committed an act of sexual assault, and it is wrong and irresponsible to conflate claims of impolitic behavior or consensual sexual contact later regretted, with an untrue claim of criminal conduct. There is a wide canyon between mere allegation and truth, and we are confident that any sober calculation of the facts will prove no legal wrongdoing occurred.”)
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Union also opened up about navigating the publishing industry, saying that her experience selling her book has been especially difficult as a black woman.
Though it spent three weeks on the New York Times best-seller list, the actress that said in her tour, only certain airports displayed the memoir, and that she had heard from readers that they had asked for it in certain cities, only to find it was still in stacks on the floor or in carts in the back.
“So I started asking people to tell me what stores this was happening in. You don’t want to alienate booksellers,” she said. “But where’s my book?”