Many are having a hard time separating Nate Parker’s alleged rape allegations in his past with their anticipations of Birth of a Nation. Parker sat down with Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes Sunday night to express his feelings and promote the film. The interview started off with Cooper going back to when Parker was a Sophmore at Penn State University when him and the film’s screenwriter (and personal friend) Jean Celestin had sex with the rape accuser.
Parker admits that all involved were intoxicated but assures the threesome was consensual. Once the trial was over and he was found not guilty, Parker was emotional to find out the accuser committed suicide due to “major depressive disorder with psychotic features, PTSD due to physical and sexual abuse, polysubstance abuse.” However, as he has already stated 2 months ago he does not apologize for he is innocent.
Now, the accuser’s sister penned an open letter speaking out against Parker, Celestin, and their movie, saying that it exploits her sister all over again. Sharon Loeffler wrote, via Variety:
As her sister, the thing that pains me most of all is that in retelling the story of the Nat Turner slave revolt, they invented a rape scene. The rape of Turner’s wife is used as a reason to justify Turner’s rebellion.
This is fiction. I find it creepy and perverse that Parker and Celestin would put a fictional rape at the center of their film, and that Parker would portray himself as a hero avenging that rape.
Given what happened to my sister, and how no one was held accountable for it, I find this invention self-serving and sinister, and I take it as a cruel insult to my sister’s memory.
I think it’s important for people to know Nat Turner’s story. But people should know that Turner did not need rape to justify what he did. Parker and Celestin did not need to add that to Turner’s story to make him more sympathetic.