Hollywood's latest Slave film "The Birth of a Nation" is a cause célèbre for those who are anxious to make up for shutting out black actors at last year's Oscar Awards.
"The Birth of a Nation" is a fictional retelling of the Nat Turner Rebellion in which slaves rose up against their white oppressors.
The Oscar talk surrounding 'Nation' is deafening and predictable. Of course 'Nation' will win an Oscar or 2 by default: it's a slave movie.
It's gotten to the point where every slave film that gets green-lighted in Hollywood is a guaranteed Oscar winner -- if only to prove a point.
But sleazy Hollywood insiders are on a mission to torpedo the slave film du jour by dragging down its star, writer and director Nate Parker.
Parker and his college roommate Jean McGianni Celestin, both 19 at the time, were accused and charged with raping an 18-year-old woman when they were Penn State students in 1999.
Parker was acquitted at a swift trial. Celestin was convicted of sexual assault, but the conviction was later overturned on appeal.
Despite his acquittal, Parker -- who claims the sex was "unambiguously consensual" -- is being dogged by the rape accusations as if he was convicted.
He added that the woman was drunk and passed out in their dorm room, and that Parker and Celestin took advantage of her. Parker wore a condom, Celestin did not.
Parker expressed his "profound sorrow" in a post on his Facebook page.
“These are my words. Written from my heart and not filtered through a third party gaze. Please read these separate from any platform I may have, but from me as a fellow human being," Parker writes.
He added: "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 look back on that time, my indignant attitude and my heartfelt mission to prove my innocence with eyes that are more wise with time."
Read the full text of the post below.
Facebook.com/OrigiNateParker -- “Over the last several days, a part of my past – my arrest, trial and acquittal on charges of sexual assault – has become a focal point for media coverage, social media speculation and industry conversation. I understand why so many are concerned and rightfully have questions. These issues of a women’s right to be safe and of men and women engaging in healthy relationships are extremely important to talk about, however difficult. And more personally, as a father, a husband, a brother and man of deep faith, I understand how much confusion and pain this incident has had on so many, most importantly the young woman who was involved,” Nate continued. “I myself just learned that the young woman ended her own life several years ago and I am filled with profound sorrow…I can’t tell you how hard it is to hear this news. I can’t help but think of all the implications this has for her family.
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.