Louis Theroux is facing both criticism and praise for his latest documentary, The Night In Question, which examines the issues of sexual assault and consent, primarily from the viewpoint of a man who says he has been falsely accused.
The one-off film aired on BBC Two on Monday night, opening with the introduction of Saifullah Khan, who had been accused of rape and acquitted in a Connecticut court.
However, due to a piece of anti-gender discrimination legislation, he remained suspended from the Yale university course he was taking prior to his arrest.
Khan’s story was the central thread to the hour-long episode, which did not feature an interview with his alleged victim, as she declined to take part.
While there was a twist that revealed another shocking allegation about Khan – and two people who have experienced assault were featured as well as the two accused men – many viewers were unhappy about the fact the film focussed on Kahn instead of women:
Others also pointed out that false accusations are actually very rare, which was not addressed in The Night In Question:
Prior to the film’s debut, Theroux explained some of his and his production team’s decisions to HuffPost UK.
“I suppose I also thought that if we have other victims in the film, that will support the victim perspective,” he said. “In addition, if I sort of interrogate Saif’s version of events with enough focus and the necessary forensic attitude, then this can still hold together as a film.
“And I won’t say that it was easy or we didn’t have wobbles or moments where we were thinking whether it would work, but I’d like to think we got there in the end.”
Not everyone disliked the film though:
The reviews for The Night In Question were also mixed, with The Telegraph praising Theroux for his “quiet objectivity turned into direct confrontation” while the Guardian was less complimentary, calling it a “troubling and problematic” film.