This October, FOX Searchlights Pictures are releasing their next Oscar contender film called Birth of a Nation by director/writer/actor Nate Parker about the slave Net Turner who forms a liberation movement in Virgina, America 1831that results in a violent retaliation against their white owners. The film has been getting critical buzz from major festivals including the Sundance Film Festival and so far, people are loving the hell out of this film (although, 12 Years of Slave will always be my favorite thanks to Steve McQueen’s excellent direction) with potential on earning big awards for the Oscars. Until the controversy went full viral on social media sites and it spiral into another overreaction of drama.
In 1999, Nate Parker was accused of raping a female student in the Penn State University with his roommate Jean McGianni Celestin, who co-wrote the movie with Nate Parker, with Parker acquitted with charges while Celestin got convicted but the conviction got overruled on appeal. However, the incident was brought back by Variety when the accuser, who accused Parker of rape, committed suicide back in 2012 and like any controversy, everything goes downhill. The film got hit by this news so bad, the AFI (American Film Institution) canceled the recent screening and Q&A for Birth of a Nation while the premiere at the Toronto Film Festival was outright canceled (another film festival that’s vital for these types of movies) despite the CEO at FOX Searchlight Michael Hooper stating the other festivals will still allow the film to have the screenings and Q&A’s even with or without the controversy surrounding Nate. Not only that but film critics & voters from the Academy Awards are starting to boycott the film due to the rape accusations against Nate Parker including voter Marcia Nasatir with the voters or film critics don’t even need to even watch the movie in general. Nasatir has this to say:
“Do I want to see a movie from someone who has committed an assault against a woman and who I do not think recognizes his guilt? Right now, based on what I’ve read, I would not go to the movie.”
Despite all the shit he’s been getting, Nate Parker did acknowledge this and feels guilty for what he did way back in 1999 while trying to apologize to the public of the atrocities he committed when he was young yet stupid. This is what Nate Parker had to say in the matter:
“I cannot- nor do I want to ignore the pain she endured during and following our trial. While I maintain my innocence that the encounter was unambiguously consensual, there are things more important than the law. There is morality; no one who calls himself a man of faith should even be in that situation. As a 36-year-old father of daughters and person of faith, I look back on that time as a teenager and can say without hesitation that I should have used more wisdom. I look back on that time, my indignant attitude and my heartfelt mission to prove my innocence with eyes that are more wise with time. I see now that I may not have shown enough empathy even as I fought to clear my name. Empathy for the young woman and empathy for the seriousness of the situation I put myself and others in. I cannot change what has happened. I cannot bring this young woman who was someone else’s daughter, someone’s sister and someone’s mother back to life…I have changed so much since nineteen. I’ve grown and matured in so many ways and still have more learning and growth to do. I have tried to conduct myself in a way that honors my entire community – and will continue to do this to the best of my ability. All of this said, I also know there are wounds that neither time nor words can heal. I have never run from this period in my life and I never ever will. Please don’t take this as an attempt to solve this with a statement. I urge you only to take accept this letter as my response to the moment.”
This whole topic, while understandably serious, is just blown out of proportions. Yes, Parker admits he committed a horrible mistake and regrets it every day in his life but the thing is Parker wasn’t charged for the crime and it’s still unknown whenever or not the accuser was telling the truth, so we still need more information on the case for confirmation but even if he did a horrible crime, people will still watch your movie regardless of the person he/she is (Roger Avary and Roman Polanski commited terrible things yet they kept making movies people love or hate). Also, this whole news just reeks of “men shaming” with Nasatir blatantly saying she won’t see the movie cause a “man” raped a “woman” and while I don’t want anyone to get raped, mugged or assaulted, isn’t blaming a person’s gender for a rape assault childish? What about kids, teenagers or the elderly who could end up being raped or killed in any second? It could happen to anyone, so why the whole “double-standard” routine on this guy If you wanna see or ignore the movie for whatever reason you have, it’s OK but if you just blow it out of the water of over-acting it on the guys past mistakes then it’s not getting you nowhere in the discussion and I’m not asking you to forgive the guy by shooting sparkles out of your nose but to read, research & think for yourself if you will support or ignore his film instead of finger shaming Parker over a questionable mistake he made in the 90’s
So guys, will you see the film regardless or the controversy or will you ignore it for either the same reasons as the controversy or for other reasons?
"The world is merciless and it's also very beautiful."
I think that one’s talent should never cross one’s personal life. I find it absolutely disgusting that people criticize works of art over reasons that are completely irrelevant of the piece itself. I’m not saying the shouldn’t be prosecuted or shamed because of his actions (I personally believe that people who have raped innocents deserve some measure of shame as punishment), but I’m not going to trash his work because of his outer actions. Here’s a couple examples of thinks I like from “scum”:
I’d loose my respect for someone who supports a bigoted, self-centered racist who criminalizes an entire religion and an entire nation based on the actions of a few; but I like Lou Ferrigno as the Hulk even when he’s standing with Trump. I think that Terrell Owens is a fantastic football player, despite supporting Trump.
I don’t care if Michael Richards is/was a racist, I still find Cosmo Kramer to be one of my favorite characters of all time.
Despite being the WWII-unleashing anti-semite son of a bitch who deserved to die, I admire Hitler’s paintings. I like them. Really.
I don’t care if Walt Disney was an anti-semitic bastard, I still enjoy Disney movies.
I’m going to watch the film, and give it whatever credit it deserves.
"The universe is one big joke, and the joke is on us"
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