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Gabrielle Union on ‘Breaking In’ and the Fears of Speaking Out Against Sexual Harassment

At the premiere for her new thriller “Breaking In” in Los Angeles, star and producer Gabrielle Union shared how she mentally prepared for the role and discussed why celebrities who have had sexual harassment allegations leveled against them for years are finally being held accountable.

In “Breaking In,” Union plays a mother of two who must fight to save her kids after a group of men invade her home and hold them hostage. The role required Union to get into the mindset of a woman struggling to keep her family alive.

Union told Variety on the red carpet, “I’m a caregiver, so I think for any caregiver, when you think about [your] children’s lives being in the line of fire — what you would do — you actually can’t imagine.” She said for each scene, she had the mentality of doing anything possible to save her children while empowering “them in the middle of such crazy adversity” to fight back.

The film marks the third time Union is producing a film. Fellow producer Will Packer, who has previously worked with Union on multiple projects such as her starring roles in the “Think Like a Man” films and as an actress and producer in “Almost Christmas,” said Union has a “strategic business mind,” which is necessary to understand producing.

He also spoke about featuring more leading black actors and actresses in films following the success of “Black Panther” because “the economics bear it out.”

“I think these days, if you’re going to make content that is going to sell around the world, it needs to look like the world,” he said. “The global audiences are becoming more and more diverse.”

He continued, “Obviously, I’ve been making diverse movies, movies with a diverse cast for a very long time. So, I’m glad everybody else is catching up to me.”

Union has used her platform to speak out about societal issues, and is one of many women in Hollywood joining WOC’s, the women of color branch within Time’s Up, campaign to #MuteRKelly.

When asked why the musician has yet to face major consequences for the accusations made against him, Union said in any industry, fear prevents people from speaking up.

She said, “To speak out is to run the risk of being ostracized. To run the risk of having your character assassinated. Run the risk of being accused of all sorts of negative, career-ending-type things. I think that’s terrifying and I think it can be very, very isolating. I think that’s what kept people quiet for so long.”

She said the support people are now receiving shows they will not be denied opportunities for speaking out.

“I know I have been rendered immobile by fear many times,” Union said. “I’d be a hypocrite if I were to say, ‘We should’ve [spoken up]!’ None of us did because we were scared.”

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