Saturday, January 16, 2021

Man Kidnaps Iowa Woman and Forces Her to Watch ‘Roots’ to ‘Understand Her Racism’

Robert Noye

*A white woman in Iowa claims she was kidnapped by Robert Lee Noye, who forced her to watch “Roots” to “understand her racism.” 

Noye, 52, has been charged with harassment and false imprisonment, The Gazette reports. The woman told police that he forced her to watch the miniseries with him. When she tried to move, he threatened to “kill her and spread her body parts across Interstate 380 on the way to Chicago,” police wrote in the complaint. 

The eight-episode series is an award-winning dramatization of author Alex Haley’s family history, from the abduction and enslavement of his ancestor Kunta Kinte in Africa to his descendants’ liberation, according to IMDb.

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Roots, LaVar Burton
Roots, LaVar Burton

“Roots” premiered on Jan. 23, 1977, and attracted 100 million viewers by the time it reached its finale on Jan. 30, per Complex.

The series is based on Haley’s best-selling book “Roots: The Saga of an American Family,” which won a host of awards, including multiple Emmys and a Peabody Award.

“Roots” starred LeVar Burton, and was remade in 2016 for the History channel, with Burton serving as a co-executive producer.

In a 2003 interview with Ebony magazine, Burton shared that he’s “still proud” of the film, and when asked why “Roots” still has such a strong impact on viewers, he explained, “The wounds run deep. And it is the sheer injustice of slavery that would be enough to incite one’s fire and anger. But to have it done to one’s own people, one’s own ancestors, that just makes it much more upsetting.”

He also dished about that famous scene where Kunta Kinte is being whipped by massa until he says his name is Toby.

“I could not get used to the idea of just standing there and letting someone hurl a whip at me,” Burton told the publication. “It was just psychologically difficult. So, it took bringing the guy back and me getting to know him [the actor who played the overseer]. It was a trust issue. It was an issue of me getting to know [the actor who played the overseer] and I just didn’t trust anybody. [laughs] I had to learn to trust that guy.”

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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