When I first saw the trailer for the film, Gates of Hell, I kept asking myself, “No really, WTF is this?”
The faux documentary is set five years into the future and depicts a group of revolutionary Black men, the Zulu 9, who take it upon themselves to kill abortion doctors and put an end to “Black genocide.” As I watched the chaotic film teaser, I didn’t know whether to laugh at its blatant absurdity or be afraid that somewhere, someone will be taking the film’s premise to heart.
Jumping on the “abortion is Black genocide” meme, filmmaker Molotov Mitchell highlights the current anti-abortionist boogeyman, Planned Parenthood. Citing the questionable intentions of its founder, Margret Sanger, as “proof” of an agenda to kill Black babies, Mitchell attempts to persuade viewers that the Zulu 9, a group of “Black power terrorists,” are justified in killing abortion doctors.
In just over two minutes, I found so much wrong with this film: Black men cast as lunatic murders, the lack of agency given to Black women who choose to have an abortion, the manipulation of facts, the “real life” documentary vibe of the film, the dude who looks like T-Pain. It’s a mess. And I’m left wondering where to even begin.
Let’s set aside, for a moment, the thought that abortion is genocide. Women have abortions for a myriad of reasons, but none of them amounts to the systematic mass extinction of a group of people. No matter what side of the abortion debate you fall on, you have to recognize that women who chose to have abortions are not doing so because Planned Parenthood told them to do so, but because they made a conscious choice to terminate the pregnancy. Moreover, Black women have some of the highest birthrates in the nation, so we are not in danger of dying off as a people.
Next, depicting Black men as abortionist killers not only capitalizes on the stereotype of the savage Black man, but is also factually inaccurate. To date, the men who have murdered abortion doctors have been overwhelming white. So why flip the script and make “Black power terrorists,” as Mitchell calls them, the perpetrators of such heinous crimes? I guess the truth—angry, murderous white guys—wasn’t scary (or sexy) enough.
While Gates of Hell is a work of fiction, it is advocating for something very real: limiting family planning choices for women, especially Black women.
As a Black woman who appreciates the ability to choose what to do with my body (and one who is sick and tired of the attacks on our wombs), I take comfort in the fact that this film—although controversial—will probably never enjoy a wide release. To date, Mitchell is attempting to raise $100,000 to promote the film nationwide and has raised less $500.
I guess people aren’t as ready (or willing) to get a glimpse of Mitchell’s “post-abortion America,” as he had hoped.
What do you think of the film’s teaser? Sound off!