Award-winning actress Whoopi Goldberg, one of the producers behind a film depicting the lynching of Emmett Till, a Black teenager who was killed in 1955 for flirting with a white woman, says it is surreal that his accuser has never been jailed.
Goldberg told Page Six she wants Carolyn Bryant Donham to admit what she did, but she doesn’t necessarily want her to be imprisoned. Donham, now 88, was 21 when she accused Emmett of grabbing her arm and making a pass at her while she was working at a family store. Recent reports show she is in hospice care and suffering from cancer.
“I don’t want her in jail, but I want her in front of a judge and jury,” the actress said. “I want her to admit what she did and what part she had, and then, you know, for me, that would be perfect, instead of still trying to hide what she did away.”
A Mississippi grand jury declined to indict Donham a month after Emmett’s relatives and supporters found a kidnapping warrant for his accuser in a courthouse. Allegations of Black men flirting with a white woman prevailed as a death sentence for many others post-Civil War and in a segregated America.
Goldberg said she and the other producers have been trying to get the film off the ground for 10 years and were only able to garner funding because of the Black Lives Matter movement after George Floyd‘s death.
“I would like to be more positive, but I think George Floyd had a lot to do with why this got made,” Goldberg said.
The film “Till” is centered around Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, who pushed for an open-casket funeral so that the world could see the damage caused by racial hatred. Goldberg played the boy’s grandmother, Alma.
The film, which will be released in theaters on Oct. 14, has historical significance because it depicts one of the most heinous racial-motivated crimes in the country.
“This is an important film to me, to all of us,” said Barbara Broccoli, who produced the movie with Goldberg, Keith Beauchamp, Thomas Levine, Michael Reilly and Fred Zollo.
However, it has recently gotten the attention of one critic for Goldberg’s physical appearance. According to reports, Daily Beast reporter Kyndall Cunningham wrote in the review of the film that she was distracted by Goldberg’s fat suit in the biopic.
However, the Oscar winner called out the critic for her erroneous assumption and slammed her for stirring focus on her appearance instead of on the art form. The references to Goldberg’s fat suit have since been deleted.
“But you should know that was not a fat suit, that was me. That was me. That was steroids. Remember last year? I assume you don’t watch the show, or you would know that was not a fat suit. It’s OK not be a fan of movie, but you want to leave people’s looks out. Just comment on the acting. And if you have a question, ask somebody. I’m sure you didn’t mean to be demeaning.”