Woman says man held her against her will, forced her to watch 'Roots' to understand racism

The woman said that when she tried to move, Robert Noye told her to remain seated and made threats to kill her.

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By Janelle Griffith

An Iowa man is accused of forcing a woman to watch the miniseries "Roots," purportedly to better understand her racism.

The man, Robert Lee Noye, 52, faces charges of harassment and false imprisonment, according to Greg Buelow, the public safety spokesman for Cedar Rapids.

Robert Lee Noye in a sheriff's photo.Linn County Sheriff's Office

On Monday, Cedar Rapids police were sent to an area in the city for an open-line 911 call "with lots of screaming," police said in a statement.

Dispatchers and officers were able to find the home by using GPS. When they arrived, an intoxicated man, later identified as Noye, answered the door, police said.

A 37-year-old woman and her 12-year-old daughter were found crying inside, police said.

The woman told police that Noye had been assaulting her all night and had made her sit with him to watch the miniseries "Roots," based on Alex Haley's bestselling book "Roots: The Saga of an American Family," which drew attention to the brutality of slavery. The miniseries aired on ABC in 1977 and won a host of awards, including multiple Emmys and a Peabody.

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The woman said that when she tried to move, Noye told her to remain seated and made threats to kill her.

She was eventually able to call 911 and leave the line open, according to police.

Noye was arrested and taken to the Linn County Jail. He was not listed as an inmate as of Tuesday evening.