Actor and director Nate Parker is disappointed that black people aren’t rallying to support him during his darkest hour.
In early August, Parker granted an interview to Variety magazine to promote his new slave movie Birth of a Nation.
During the interview, Parker recalled a “painful moment” in his life that he would like to forget, but for the moment, it was necessary to retell the story to portray himself as the victim.
Parker admitted having “consensual” sex with a 18-year-old woman whom he dated at Penn State in 1999. The woman later accused him and another man of raping her while she was too intoxicated to give consent.
While recounting the story 17 years later, Parker didn’t express sympathy for his victim — only for himself.
“That was seventeen years ago,” he insisted. “My life will be examined and put under the microscope in ways that it never has.”
But Parker left out the part where, while having sex with his intoxicated victim, he beckoned to his college roommate and another man to join him in running a train on her.
Parker’s roommate, Jean Celestin, took him up on his offer. Celestin stripped naked and positioned himself near the victim’s head.
The other man had the common sense and human decency to leave the scene. He was never charged.
Celestin was later convicted of sexual assault, but the conviction was overturned on a technicality. The victim declined to testify against him in a retrial in 2005 after Parker and his friends allegedly harassed her.
Like a typical narcissist, Parker recalled the rape case in terms of how his acquittal defined him and made him the great actor, father, whatever, that he is today.
“I was cleared of it. That’s that. Seventeen years later, I’m a filmmaker. I have a family. I have five beautiful daughters. I have a lovely wife,” he said.
But that wasn’t that.
After doing a little digging, Variety uncovered that the victim committed suicide in 2012.
Then the transcripts from his 2001 trial surfaced online, and all hell broke loose.
There was the transcript of a taped phone call in which Parker blamed the victim for putting herself in the situation to be gang raped by him and his boy.
“I’m not try, trying to be mean, but, I felt like you put yourself in that situation, you know what I mean?” Parker told the woman. “I really felt like I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Suddenly, Parker went from a celebrated slavery film director to being vilified on black forums and social media.
Gone is the talk about his slave film ending the drought of Oscar nominations for black actors.
His staunchest supporters are running for the hills.
Other black directors are distancing themselves from him — at least publicly.
Fox Searchlight cancelled a series of campus tours where Parker planned to lead discussions on social injustice in America.
The American Film Institute canceled a screening of Birth of a Nation that was scheduled for Friday. Also cancelled is a Q&A session with Parker that was set to follow the screening.
According to Variety magazine, Parker is disappointed over the backlash on social media and that black people don’t have his back.
But he’s even more mad at himself, for bringing up that “painful moment” in a ploy for sympathy that backfired badly.
Parker and Fox Searchlight underestimated the public’s response to a 17-year-old campus rape case being used as a tool to promote his slave movie.
What About Our Daughters — We’re not going to see this movie. We aren’t buying it. Write off the $20 million and leave us alone already.
You’re fools to use moral authority to market a movie when the writer, director, and lead actor has no moral authority. Who thought this was a good idea?
He also underestimated how women — black women in particular, would retaliate against him for his lack of remorse.
One Lipstickalley.com blogger wrote:
“As low as [Nate Parker] feels, he will never be lower than his victim who is literally buried in the ground. So over him.”
Another LA blogger added:
“I can just tell that he’s rarely ever been held accountable for his own actions. That is why he is blaming others, and playing the victim.”
While a third blogger summed it up in a nutshell: “He can kiss my black ass”.