If you care about women’s rights, then Seeing Allred needs to be on your must-watch list. Detailing the life of Gloria Allred, this new Netflix documentary tells her story. For the record, if you think you already know her story because you’ve seen her on television or fighting battles in the courtroom for the past few decades, you’re wrong. There is so much more than meets the eye when it comes to this outspoken civil rights attorney.
The Netflix Documentary Seeing Allred
Seeing Allred, which premiered last month at Sundance, is scheduled to debut on February 9. This documentary follows Allred for three years. It also details her four decades of activism as a civil rights attorney with a habit of taking on clients who were sexually assaulted by high-profile men, including Bill Cosby and Donald Trump.
“When the #MeToo movement exploded, Gloria was at the center of that,” Sophie Sartain, the film’s co-director, told Vice. “We felt we captured her 40-year career and we positioned her as very much still being in the fight. The stories in this film will keep going. It’s a complete story in itself.”
“She’s all about justice for women and LGBTQ community, it’s all she cares about,” added co-director Roberta Grossman. “If you’re going to do a film about Gloria, that’s what it’s about.”
What You Didn’t Know
Although you may have seen Allred on various television shows over the years and perhaps you’ve even caught a press conference or two, you might not know her own harrowing story. When Allred was a young woman in her early 20s, she experienced sexual assault firsthand. She was raped at gunpoint by a doctor and became pregnant as a result of the attack. After deciding to have an abortion, Allred almost died. Through it all, she stayed silent and kept the assault a secret because she didn’t think anyone would believe her. Since then, Allred has spent her life giving a voice to other women who were victims of sexual assault.
Gloria Allred Career
Throughout her career, Allred has represented dozens of women who were victimized by powerful men. Allred’s clients have accused men like Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, Michael Jackson, Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, Tiger Woods, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and politician Anthony Weiner — and she has taken them on with steadfast courage. She also represented the Spice Girls’ Mel “Scary Spice” Brown after she insisted that Eddie Murphy was the father of her baby. Following the ensuing drama and a paternity test, the actor was ordered to pay child support.
Gloria Allred Explains Why
Allred said that she chose to stand up for these women and fight for them when no one else would because she didn’t want anyone else to go through what she had gone through. She understood their struggles on a very personal level and was determined to give them a voice.
“Ultimately, I did talk about why I do what I do — it’s because of my own life experience, which is really very similar to what many, many women have suffered,” Allred told NPR during a recent interview. “Because I didn’t learn about injustices against women in law school or in college, we didn’t speak about that. It’s because I have a passion for justice and because of what I have suffered that I feel that I can’t undo what has happened to me, but I can use that to help others for them to have rights that I didn’t feel that I had.”
But giving these women a voice isn’t the only reason she’s fought so hard over the years, even though that would have been reason enough. When asked, Allred said that “no, it’s not just about women’s voices. Although, had it been only about women’s voices, I think that would have been important.”
Seeing Allred couldn’t be hitting the screen at a better time. Sartain explained that the Cosby case started a wave of women who refuse to stay silent any longer. They are speaking out and giving one another the power to come forward.
“It’s about giving people a voice—so many women who spoke out against Bill Cosby gave other women strength to speak out against Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein,” said Sartain. “It was the wave that the Cosby case began, the earthquake that caused the tsunami.”
Allred agrees and she firmly believes that we will keep moving forward, “because women have found their voice and minorities, and they’ve done what Mother Jones has said, which is “Don’t agonize, organize.” And that’s a beautiful thing. I think this tsunami is going to continue. I don’t see us going backward — I only see us going forward. And that’s so encouraging and so exciting.”
Watch the Seeing Allred Trailer here:
Featured image promotional image via Netflix