Nate Parker is an actor who is being discussed quite a bit on social media. So much so that Twitter currently reports Parker’s name as a trending topic with more than 3,000 tweets about Nate being published at the moment. As reported by Variety, Fox Searchlight’s head honchos are figuring out how to handle the response from interviews that Parker recently gave, wherein Nate spoke about a rape trial involving him years ago.
The writer, director, and producer of the movie The Birth of a Nation, Nate previously was known mostly for his acting roles in movies like Beyond the Lights, The Secret Life of Bees, and The Great Debaters, according to IMDB.
When the movie’s poster appeared online, as seen in the below photo, Parker gained even more attention. With a U.S. flag shown wrapped around Nate’s neck as a noose, it was a film one-sheet that was certainly controversial.
However, the news about Nate began to gain even more attention as fans discovered more about Parker’s past and personal life.
Nate Parker wrote a movie about something that happened in 1831 and then said his rape charge was a long time ago and he's moved on.— A$AP Aspie (@ProfessorBLove) August 14, 2016
The Birth of a Nation won more buzz for Parker when Fox Searchlight agreed to fund the Sundance Film Festival independent movie, giving it $17.5 million to see the true story come to life across more movie screens.
Parker’s film covers the actions of Nat Turner, a man who led an 1831 rebellion of slaves.
With Nate at the center of another powerful movie about race relations — as was The Great Debaters — the so-called “Hotep” or peace crowd on Twitter made certain assumptions about Parker. Therefore, some members of social media freaked out when Parker posted a photo of his wife, surprising those who assumed Nate’s wife would be an African-American woman.
As reported by Variety, Parker was ready to put the rape case behind him — however, Nate’s words are causing more of a firestorm than making the subject die down.
“Seventeen years ago, I experienced a very painful moment in my life. It resulted in it being litigated. 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. I get it. The reality is…I can’t relive 17 years ago. All I can do is be the best man I can be now.”
Whether the release date of Parker’s movie will be pushed back because of the rape controversy remains to be seen. The Birth of a Nation could either suffer in the box office, due to people of the mindset that are tweeting they don’t want to see the film because of the rape case — or, it could bring more attention to the film that moviegoers might not have known about before.
Nate Parker's victim has attempted suicide twice since the rape. He gets to be a big, famous star while she's traumatized for life.— Jus (@justheinternet) August 15, 2016
The incident that prompted the sexual assault trial happened when Parker attended Penn State in 1999.
Fox Searchlight made sure to reiterate their knowledge of Parker being found innocent of rape charges in 2001.
“We also know that he was found innocent and cleared of all charges. We stand behind Nate and are proud to help bring this important and powerful story to the screen.”
The Birth of a Nation is a movie that was already receiving Academy Award buzz. Jean Celestin, who co-wrote the movie with Nate, was not found innocent of raping the same 18-year-old woman. Jean was found guilty of sexual assault — but the rape victim decided not to testify in a new trial.
the black dudes on twitter talking about the media trying to "bill cosby" nate parker. y'all all gotta go and take nate with you.— monica. (@hheyitsmonica) August 15, 2016
Nate might not conduct any additional interviews until the premiere of the movie.
The Birth of the Nation and the promotion of the movie is of concern — especially since Parker, who is a Christian pastor, had planned to promote it via church vehicles.
[Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP Images]