I’m the producer of this biopic, which is about a woman who was wronged by society and underwent traumatic experiences as a result, and I’m here to address the controversy surrounding the film. People have been asking us, “Why did you make this film when the subject and their family made it overwhelmingly clear that they don’t consent?”—so I thought I would set the record straight.

We care deeply about the subject and created a film that treats her story with the utmost respect. The first step was putting a lot of thought and care into choosing a director for this movie. Our male director helmed other esteemed biopics and has a female cousin who went through something similar to the subject, so we knew that the movie was in good hands. The lead actress made sure to portray the subject with the empathy and grace needed to secure her Golden Globe nomination. Finally, we also consulted the subject’s biographer, an old white dude, to get the most accurate information about her life.

People are concerned that the subject was not involved in the making of this movie, but we actually made numerous attempts to reach out to her and gave her many opportunities to get on board. After a five-minute search, we found the agent she was with ten years ago and left a voice mail for the assistant—twice. We did not immediately receive an indication that she did not not disapprove of the movie, so we had a clear signal to go ahead with production. Her close family and friends did contact us during pre-production, repeatedly urging us not to move forward with the script because of its gross inaccuracies. We hear them and acknowledge their unease at how we portrayed the subject’s life. But, to be frank, they don’t know anything about good storytelling.

We take our jobs as storytellers seriously. Movies hold up mirrors to society; they have the power to enact change. What the subject went through was harrowing and traumatic, something nobody should have to endure. That’s why we recreated the heinous acts committed to her in excruciating detail for the big screen.

Some people have asked whether it was necessary to include the violent sex scenes that caused this movie to be rated NC-17. We want to make it exceedingly clear that we strongly condemn the actions of the assaulter, and we would never condone rape. But have you seen our lead actress? She’s smokin’!

Yes, eventually the subject’s agent communicated to us that she did not want the movie to be made. But we had already started making it, and we really wanted to, so we were really left with no choice there.