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AFI Cancels ‘Birth of a Nation’ Screening, Nate Parker Q&A

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Dave McNary

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'Birth of a Nation' Screening Cancelled, Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures August 23, 2016 | 10:06PM PT

The American Film Institute has canceled its Friday screening of “Birth of a Nation,” which was to be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker and star Nate Parker, whose 1999 rape case has put the filmmaker and distributor Fox Searchlight on the defensive this past week.

AFI dean Jan Schuette made the announcement to students late Tuesday. The AFI screening would have been Parker’s first public event since the story about the rape case became widely known earlier this month.

“I have been the recipient of many different passionate points of view about the screening, and I believe it is essential that we discuss these issues together — messenger and message, gender, race and more — before we see the film,” Schuette said. “Next week, we will be scheduling a special moderated discussion so we may explore these issues together as artists and audience.”

Fox will hold a different AFI screening of “Birth” later this year. The studio has vowed to continue its theatrical release and publicity tour for the Nat Turner biopic, which opens Oct. 7, despite the recent headlines involving Parker.

In 1999, Parker and his friend, Jean Celestin, who is credited as a writer on “Birth of a Nation,” were charged with raping an 18-year old, who claimed she was unconscious after drinking heavily. Both men said the sex was consensual. Parker was acquitted of the rape charges in 2001, but Celestin was found guilty of sexual assault. He appealed the verdict and was granted a new trial in 2005, but the case never made it back to court after the woman declined to testify again.

Last week, Variety broke the news that the unidentified victim killed herself in 2012 after swallowing nearly 200 sleeping pills.

In a Facebook post, Parker said he was “devastated” by the news of her death, while maintaining his innocence.

“I can’t help but think of all the implications this has for her family,” he wrote. “I cannot, nor do I want to, ignore the pain she endured during and following our trial.”

AFI will instead hold a screening of Paramount’s “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back,” directed by Edward Zwick, on Friday as part of its “Opening Day,” a special screening for second-year fellows that occurs at the end of the first week of the new semester.

Zwick, a member of the AFI Board of Directors, is also an executive producer on “The Birth of a Nation,” the story of Nat Turner’s failed 1831 slave rebellion. Schuett said that Fox has agreed to hold a screening of the film at a yet-to-be announced date.

“Fox has agreed to host a screening of the film for us later in the year, and I’m happy to announce here that we are going to double down on Ed Zwick’s talent and generosity — and the Second Year Opening Day will also be ‘Jack Reacher: Never Go Back’ — and he and Marshall Herskovitz will return to discuss the film and meet you,” Schuett said.

Herskovitz is Zwick’s longtime producing partner. Zwick, Herskovitz and Richard Wenk wrote the screenplay for the sequel.

Schuett has been dealing with the fallout from dismissals among the AFI faculty. The faculty union called on the administration Tuesday to fire Schuett.

Fox Searchlight bought “The Birth of a Nation” for a record-breaking $17.5 million following its premiere in January at the  Sundance Film Festival. Parker produced, directed from his own script — on which he shares story credit with Celestin — along with starring as Nat Turner.

Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King, Jackie Earle Haley, Penelope Ann Miller and Gabrielle Union also star in “The Birth of a Nation,” which won the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at Sundance.

Filed Under:

  • Fox Searchlight
  • Jean Celestin
  • Nate Parker
  • The Birth of a Nation
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    1. Jim Henson says: October 10, 2016 at 2:42 am

      We’ve been observing the “birth of a nation” in America for the last half century. A nation that runs on exploitation, violence, theft and lies. And AAs are getting worst of it as usual, though it’s now spreading through all the lower and middle economic classes regardless of race. What we have in America isn’t race, it’s class oppression, and the ruling elite love the continuing circuses that never change anything, except for the worse. Now go vote for Clinton, a war criminal, liar, thief, and murderer who has called AAs the “n” word, has worn blackface to a party when she was first lady of Alabama, who said Black males were “super predators” and whose political party, despite claiming to back the interests of AAs, has sat back and catered to foreigners who have demographically replaced AAs from the second largest ethnic group to a rapidly approaching 5th place nationally. While AA incomes, outcomes, and communities have been all but razed to the ground in the last fifty years–yet these politicians have all become super-millionaires. Hmmm.
      Wake up already.

    2. Jim Henson says: October 10, 2016 at 2:34 am

      So another Hollywood perv makes a revisionist piece of PC crap and the pedos and rapists of the West Coast push it on the public with pride. Too bad it flopped. For as commentators here have mentioned, I don’t believe any of these other notorious sex criminals in the industry should be enjoying access to the international media either. Polanski is a child rapist, and as several actors have come forward of late, there are many, many pedos and abusers in the business who enjoy committing felonies against kids and women. None of them should be be accepted or listened to.

    3. Daria says: August 28, 2016 at 11:35 am

      WhY would she kill herself if she actually was a victim.. I know several girls who lied about being raped or molested simply because they were angry at the guy and didn’t get what she wanted.. It’s sad because the world will automatically believe the female because they think her to be weak.. If you rape me I’m not killing myself.. Karma will work it out!

      • Cw says: September 2, 2016 at 4:18 am

        Never experienced Rape! Clearly there were other issues that haunted this woman. NP has and will pay a price…now. White ppl see no justice for Black ppl even when aquited in a court of law. In their minds, he doesn’t deserve the life he’s about to live due to his movie”Birth of a Nation”.

    4. Nations says: August 25, 2016 at 10:44 am

      There are WAY TOO MANY ASSUMPTIONS being made my many of the posters here in regards to the 17-year old rape case. There was no real evidence to suggest that rape actually occurred. The fact is that people get drunk and have sex all the time… Not saying that it is right, but it is a reality. Often times, people don’t completely remember what happened when they wake up the next day, but is that rape? Seems like it would be very hard to prove and amounts to nothing more than “he say, she say.” If she had been drugged or had other circumstances come into play, then the situation would have seemed more like a rape. This woman committed suicide 13 years later. We don’t know what kinds of issues she may have had, truth be told. We can’t assume her committing suicide years later was because of this incident. We don’t know if this woman possibly had mental issues, drug abuse problems, etc. Not at all trying to shame the deceased woman, but the fact is we just don’t know… She refused to testify further in court during the hearing for the other guy. Do we know why that is? Again, we can’t assume. I’m sorry but rape is something that has to be proven because there are many men (especially black men) who spent years in prison due to false allegations. Sorry, it has just happened to many times… But I always have the utmost empathy and compassion for actual rape victims.

    5. De Grisby says: August 25, 2016 at 10:39 am

      I am so disappoint with the decision to cancel this screening. Nate Parker has been acquitted of all charges and he wa not responsible for the death of this woman. Why did you not take these steps with Woody Allen or Roman Polaski? It is situations like this unfairness that makes me wonder if America is the place for me to raise my African American men.

    6. Cee says: August 25, 2016 at 9:59 am

      As mentioned during a discussion regarding “Birth of a Nation”. What about screening Woodie Allen’s films? Although Mia Farrow & family spoke out again about WA’s conduct toward a family, he continues to be a “film director”. Equating a persons social conduct with their artistic achievement is unfair…especially today. Research the background of some of our reknowned artist and the world would shake, rattle and roll!

    7. Alkebu says: August 25, 2016 at 9:46 am

      Last I checked he was acquitted, so no discussion required, the quality of his work is all that matters….

    8. Karen O'Donnell says: August 25, 2016 at 6:32 am

      Once again, the audience misses out on seeing a meaningful and apparently beautifully done movie because of misguided political correctness. This man was acquitted…do we not see how unjust this is? We have moved into a society where if you are accused of a crime you are guilty whether you did it or not…even if you are found not guilty. It’s disgraceful!

    9. Gerald Bowman says: August 24, 2016 at 3:42 pm

      Interesting that AFI was happy and proud to screen Roman Polanski’s films. He is a convicted child rapist and a current fugitive. Is this really about a 17 year old unproven rape allegation? Or are they trying to hurt an independent black film and filmmaker for other reasons? If I were him I would sue AFI.

      • Shari says: August 24, 2016 at 4:06 pm

        OMG stop. Sue AFI? Ryan Coogler, Rick Famuyiwa, and Justin Simien get a tonnnnn of support. They’re independent black filmmakers who didn’t rape anyone and intimidate witnesses. I’m a POC and support my fellow artists, but I will never put this movie before the life of a woman.

    10. Black Exodus says: August 24, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      Once this movie hits theaters…it will be a massive financial success…If you thought “Boyz In the Hood” did fantastic numbers watch what this does. No amount of cynical, thwarting, negative buzz about the Director, Writer & Actor will stop the movement of many, that want to see this movie. It’s a piece that needs to be told, has to be told and the anticipation is at a fever pitch. For lack of a better term let’s coin it the “Donald Trump Effect”. No matter what you say…there is still going to be support! Be blessed, Stay Safe!

    11. dstubbs says: August 24, 2016 at 2:39 pm

      First of all jackass, HE WAS ACQUITTED OF THE CHARGES!!!! Now, as for T-Dot being your city. How do you know if there isn’t some acting celeb in Toronto that went through the same thing. NTM< Woody Allen has had rape and child molestation charges put on him and I don't see ANY film institute rejecting any of his films. Woody Harrelson's father was in ADX Supermax prison for murder and nothing happened to Woody as a result (I added Harrelson's case bc as with Nate Parker…THE CHARGE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH HIM)

    12. Lisa Atampuri says: August 24, 2016 at 2:04 pm

      Black men historically have been accused of rape by white women and the woman is always believed. Nate was acquitted of the crime 20 years ago and now white people want to vilify this man. White media and its establishments can go to hell. There is a group of people in this country who want to shut this film down. But its not going to happen.

      • Art says: August 24, 2016 at 9:15 pm

        Victim blaming, are we?

        I expect you fully support George Zimmerman and police officers acquitted of shooting black people. They have been exonerated after all.

        • Art says: August 25, 2016 at 1:53 am

          George Zimmerman was tried in a court of law and acquitted by the jury. It seems quite hypocritical of you to still claim he’s guilty while you suck up to Nate Parker.

        • KV says: August 24, 2016 at 9:32 pm

          Its paying attention to the evidence. Yes the criminal justice system gets stuff wrong especially with black people, however based on the evidence Zimmerman was guilty and Parker was wrongfully accused, thus he was the victim.

      • KJ says: August 24, 2016 at 8:58 pm

        Where has there been anything posted about the race of this woman? And just because someone is acquitted of a crime doesn’t mean they didn’t do it. He was acquitted because he had had sex with her before. But it doesn’t matter whether you’ve never had sex with someone or had sex with them 1000 times: if they are unconscious they CANNOT consent to sex. This acquittal says more about how screwed up our justice system is when it comes to protecting women than it does about his innocence. And people don’t kill themselves over consensual sex.

        • powerwealthinfluence says: August 25, 2016 at 12:36 am

          He was acquitted because there was no evidence. The woman who accused him said she was too drunk to remember what happened yet her blood alcohol level was not that high. It wasnt even he said she said. It was two hes said and she assumed if she was sober. No reasonable jury would convict under that circumstance.

    13. Mario smith says: August 24, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      Nate rapist please don’t come to my city OF TORONTO you POS

      • lorenzoporricelli says: August 24, 2016 at 1:07 pm

        Your city? That’s a laugh. No one in Toronto knows you or cares about you. You are most likely a no-talent living off the government dole. Why don’t you start a Trump Fan Club in Toronto, that might help you get noticed.

    14. Lorenzo Porricelli says: August 24, 2016 at 12:58 pm

      The small pieces we saw at CinemaCon of this film were astounding and enthralling. Mr Parker captured a moment in history and its importance, yes, but more so, he imparted into his film the raw hatred and degradation of slavery, and thus, it flowed to us. With a room of 2500 jaded film professionals silent, the movie stood, even with only a few scenes shown, as important. That Mr Parker is being held to a flame now, for things that were legally absolved years ago, is a statement of the salacious jealousy of the no-talents in media and the film business, who make a god-forsaken living by attacking and degrading anything to meet their faux PC standards, when in reality, those who shout “J’accuse!” are hypocrites with no credibility in anything but running their mouths. More than likely 99% of the world has sins in their closet, so what, no one is perfect, it is his life, he seems to have atoned and set himself on a course that benefits many others. What have the shouters accomplished except shouting? Zero. Go for it Mr. Parker, Go for it Fox Searchlight, this picture is so important. Sometimes one has to stand, and I stand with you, Mr Parker, God will bless your efforts for this film that reveals the mind scheme of so many with clear complexions and yet are heartless. As was said in “Bridge On the River Kwai,” – Good Show!

      • Thor says: August 24, 2016 at 1:28 pm

        There are sins and there are deadly sins. As we know 100% of us are sinners; however, I beg to differ that 99% of us committed deadly sins. Only few… and Mr. Parker is one of these few, regardless of what court said. Of course, god will judge him, not us. But that doesn’t mean that, while not judging him and his buddy, I will pay my money into their pockets.
        “The Sandpit Generals (also released as The Defiant and The Wild Pack) is 1971 drama film directed by Hall Bartlett. Its plot is based on the novel by Jorge Amado.” The latter is world class writer.
        “The film was not popular in the United States due to its socialist context, but became an iconic film in the Soviet Union, where it took part in the 7th Moscow International Film Festival and, although did not win any prize, in a few years was widely distributed in movie theaters and was proclaimed “the best foreign film” by Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper in 1974.”
        So, in this highly subjective business the success depends on what kind off “2500 jaded film professionals” are “silent”ly “sitting in the room”.
        Regarding you statement of “salacious jealousy of the no-talents in media and the film business…” I completely agree with this your assessment; however, I’d like to point out that most of the people writing comments here, seemingly, do not belong to this group.

        • CMiller says: August 25, 2016 at 12:08 am

          Mr. Parker is one of these few, regardless of what court said. Of course, god will judge him, not us.

          Irony much? You just judged him.

    15. Chris Miller says: August 24, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      Must feel good that you guys are accomplishing your goal, which was to tank this particular film

    16. LaTonya says: August 24, 2016 at 12:27 pm

      In the media’s attempt to get a story they will continue to tell half truths, discredit and destroy lives for a story. We as human beings have to know when to leave well enough alone. You can’t bring a person back from suicide nor will your vampire publications and instigations assist the family left behind or those who are dealing with the the past and recovering. We as a people need to learn to forgive, reflect, Love and seek God.

      • Thor says: August 24, 2016 at 1:32 pm

        Jesus said not to through a stone unless without a sin. He didn’t say I should throw my money into a pocket of the rapists! I’m not judging. But I am not supporting either.

    17. James says: August 24, 2016 at 11:50 am

      Fox Searchlight will say and do anything to recoup the $17 million they’ve dumped into this shitty movie. Don’t give them a dime of your money!

      • lorenzoporricelli says: August 24, 2016 at 1:03 pm

        James sounds like one of the no-talents who criticize anything and everything because of their jealousy and envy. He does it without cause, only to sound like he is on the side of what is right, but doesn’t even know the facts and certainly hasn’t seen the story. Most likely a white barback who thought he would be the greatest thiing in film but is now cleaning tables at a sleazy dive on Santa Monica Blvd.

      • Arron Frazier says: August 24, 2016 at 12:07 pm

        Why is this movie shitty? Have you seen the movie to make this comment? The movie is based on history.

    18. stevenkovacs says: August 24, 2016 at 10:16 am

      When will the Mayor of Toronto and/or Premier of Ontario step in to the taxpayer-funded nightmare unfolding at Toronto Int’l Film Festival’s inexplicable plans to hold parties for Nate Parker and his film when they should be cancelled. Protests planned will not do any good for Toronto’s image currently being held hostage by star struck organizers at TIFF. It’s time to do the right thing, and follow AFI’s wise decision to cancel planned celebrations for Nate Parker.

      • Local T.O. Dude says: August 24, 2016 at 12:34 pm

        Due to the huge world-wide press presence at TIFF every year, FSP and Parker would undoubtedly welcome noisy protests at “Nation”‘s red carpet international premiere…the more publicity, the better. They have nothing left to lose. And Cameron Bailey and fellow TIFF pals would become the smug media heroes of the week. Cameron, as a former TIFF attendee and one who loves the screens at Bell Lightbox, I urge you to re-examine your soul, and reconsider giving this questionable filmmaker and his questionable movie the royal treatment next month.

      • Boycott this film says: August 24, 2016 at 10:24 am

        Start a Twitter campaign to boycott the film now. Tweet to #TIFF’s official account, and to Fox Searchlight. #BoycottBoaN

        I agree, it will tarnish TIFF and is a disaster in the making.

    19. Boycott this film says: August 24, 2016 at 10:10 am

      Perhaps after the “special moderated discussion,” the AFI will conclude that they should never give this film a screening. No one should be supporting these rapists (the director and co-screenwriter BOTH).

      I hope that the planned AFI screening of “Birth” later this year never happens. Court documents show that the victim was threatened and intimated by these two and that’s why she declined to go through a second trial. They got off on a technicality, and if not for that, they both would have been sent to prison.

      They got off scott free, never showed remorse and never paid for their crime. In fact, they tried to blame the victim, saying she put herself in a situation where they could easily rape her, as if she was to blame for their actions. They do not deserve to rewarded now.

      Fox screwed up massively when they chose to work with people like this and it’s not going to be ignored. They can release the film, but expect it to be boycotted. The end does not justify the means. Learn that.

      • lorenzoporricelli says: August 24, 2016 at 1:17 pm

        The attention has solidified the film at the box office. Most people are sinners and learn to forgive. We weren’t there or part of the incidents, and we shouldn’t comment on them without speaking to Mr. Parker.

    20. smh says: August 24, 2016 at 10:04 am

      Yikes. Shame he’s the writer/director/lead actor, the movie and others involved don’t deserve to suffer. But he’s trash so….

    21. Frederick Louis Richardson says: August 24, 2016 at 10:02 am

      D.W. Griffith was a filmmaker and racist who made a silent movie called “Birth of A Nation”.

      Nate Parker had consent for the previous occasion he had sex with a white female college student, so when he had non-consent the next time because she was dead-drunk, Parker was found “Not guilty.”

      Heterosexual rape of a woman by a man is consciously or subconsciously misogyny. Racism crosses this path–given America’s social footprint–when the one person is white and the other black.

      If Nate Parker was white with this ironically titled movie, BLACK LIVES MATTER would have spoken up in protest. How might this aspect tie in that racist D.W. Griffith and his racist film?

      Life can be long and full of irony.

      • Thor says: August 24, 2016 at 10:19 am

        Wait a minute! Not only he is a sex pervert, but he also stole the title of his movie? Wow…

        • Thor says: August 24, 2016 at 12:42 pm

          Having twosome with a drunk woman whom you dating and inviting third dude to join the party… well you and I have different criteria for sexual perversion.

          If a writer will name his masterpiece “War and Peace” I’d call him plagiarist regardless of that the copy right expired in hundred years ago. Guess we have different opinion on this issue either.

        • Arron Frazier says: August 24, 2016 at 12:10 pm

          What facts do you have that he is sex pervert? The copy rights for Birth of the nation ran out in the 70’s.

    22. William Petersen says: August 24, 2016 at 8:55 am

      Birth of a Nation axed…. Thank God!

    23. Don't Mind Me Now says: August 24, 2016 at 8:51 am

      He might have used the comparison to justify his actions to himself, but I doubt he was actually “inspired” by that. Unrepentant rapists frequently try to find ways to “rationalize” their behavior in their own head so they won’t feel any guilt about what they did, and feel like it was some sort of victory/revenge/power exercise when it was really nothing more than “he really wanted to rape this person.”

    24. Thor says: August 24, 2016 at 8:41 am

      Regardless of the court decision those are the facts: 1) two dudes had a group sex with a drunk young women; 2) they invited a third dude to joint the “party” but he refused; 3) this young woman later committed suicide.
      Now if these two dudes became rappers or actors, or pro wrestlers or any kind of entertainers that are not treated as some messengers on moral, political, social or any other kind of important issues it would be easy to separate the art from the artist. Indeed, most of us in right mind don’t care what R.Kelly thinks on issues. Most of us don’t care what no-controversy entertainers, like Beyoncé, think either.
      But, here is drastically different case: two dudes who either gang raped young woman, or had deviant group sex with intoxicated and mentally unstable young woman, these two dudes will be teaching my two daughters about moral, social, and political issues of slavery in the US. Hmmm…. not on my watch!

      • Caleb says: August 24, 2016 at 9:07 am

        Very well said. This is a uniquely complicated case, unlike any other PR problem Hollywood ever had. I’m curious to see what the distributor Fox Searchlight will do next. It’s a no-win situation. If “Birth of a Nation” flops hard and doesn’t get any awards, then this might be a game changer for distributors.
        They will be very careful when they buy a movie next time for $17.5 mill. and probably first check the artists’ background.

        • Boycott this film says: August 24, 2016 at 10:14 am

          It will flop hard. Half the audience (women) will flat out refuse to see this film. It’s disgusting that these two men never paid for their crime, blamed the victim, and showed no remorse. She never got over what they did to her and eventually killed herself.

          They will not be rewarded for their crime. This movie should disappear and FOX and everyone else should be much more aware of who they are working with. And this wasn’t a secret, Parked had done interviews about it back in 2007, so Fox really has no excuse.

      • California Dream says: August 24, 2016 at 8:57 am

        Thank you, sir!

    25. Don't Mind Me Now says: August 24, 2016 at 8:41 am

      So Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is the new Best Picture frontrunner? AWESOME!

    26. Art says: August 24, 2016 at 8:39 am

      I bet SJWs are real confused. They probably can’t decide whether it’s racist to back the dead woman or misogynist to back Nate.

    27. Alex Meyer says: August 24, 2016 at 8:38 am

      Now it’s Oscar hopes really are doomed.

    28. jackson says: August 24, 2016 at 8:26 am


    29. Elian Gonzalez says: August 24, 2016 at 8:07 am

      “…Nat Turner is surely an ‘inspiring’ historical figure, especially for angry young black men…” When he could simply chosen Hitler, who is surely an ‘inspiring’ figure, especially for angry young white men.

      See how that works? See how a wide a net is thrown about here? Let’s have an impossible double-standard for black men while white men just get super offended when it’s pointed out that the Founders of the U.S. were slave owners or the destruction of First Nations. It’s okay to pawn off black men as nothing more than rapists of white women, because you say so.

      • Caleb says: August 24, 2016 at 8:20 am

        Elian, nobody would care if their victim was white in a different context. But since the director and screenwriter of “Birth of a Nation” together raped a white girl in college at a time when ‘outlaw’ Nat Turner was their “hero”, it raises interesting questions about race relations and historical evil…

    30. Brian says: August 24, 2016 at 7:54 am

      You people who call out Woody Allen as being a deviant and a criminal obviously do not know how to look at all the facts. Allen is the victim of the mentally unstable Mia Farrow, she brainwashed her small children into thinking Allen really did all these horrible things but in reality Allen is innocent of any wrongdoing. Look at all the facts and interviews, you can’t just pick and choose just because you have a personal beef against Allen. I’m not even a huge fan of his films I just know when something doesn’t smell right and the allegations against him and everything you can find on it in print suggests something is rotten in Denmark.

    31. Kitkat9301 says: August 24, 2016 at 7:47 am

      Why does it matter if she is or isn’t? Please do not go there. Black, white, brown, purple, pink, green, etc. does it really matter?

    32. JPR says: August 24, 2016 at 6:21 am

      Good, get rid of this punk, Nate Parker before the election. All we need is Trump getting into office because of this movie.

    33. Michael Plumides says: August 24, 2016 at 5:49 am

      Interesting how Edward Zwick, who directed “Glory”, one of the most beloved films about African-American heritage, directed the back up “Reacher” film.

      • hornacek says: August 24, 2016 at 6:09 am

        Yes, if you think that it’s interesting that a director has made two different films about different subjects.

        This just in: Spielberg has made one film about a mutiny on a slave ship, and another film about a killer shark.

        • Don't Mind Me Now says: August 24, 2016 at 8:39 am

          Sadly, Soielberg has yet to make a film about a killer shark on a slave ship.

    34. Karen says: August 24, 2016 at 4:33 am

      “Next week, we will be scheduling a special moderated discussion so we may explore these issues together as artists and audience.” This is a P.R. strategy by the distributor to save their $17.5 million investment. They will hire some people to sit in the audience and ‘shape the discussion’ and manipulate the press. The conclusion will be, that Nate was a bad boy long time ago, but he’s a very good boy now. And so innocent. And that he’s such a great filmmaker, that he should be forgiven everything, because we can separate art from the artist. DON’T PLAY THIS GAME.

      • JFL says: August 24, 2016 at 6:12 am

        The optics on this are so bad. The transcripts being out there for anyone to read make the redemption of Nasty Nate almost impossible. Fox Searchlight is getting called out any time a puff piece shows up that tries to deflect. If they stack an audience with plants, I believe it will backfire. Women at AFI cannot be okay with this. The protests outside his screenings are already planned and will be filled with people of all colors. This is not good for business. AFI should not want to let this man walk on a stage and answer questions in some chance to rehabilitate his image. It’ll be so transparent. I actually give them credit for cancelling this event. While the language in the article suggests they will do something later, there’s no guarantee of that right now. They bought themselves time in my opinion. In retrospect, they should’ve taken the more lucrative Netflix deal. They could’ve just dropped it on Netflix and let people decide if they want to watch this thing in their own homes. What I’ve heard is being planned for his screenings by groups who are outraged by what he and Mr. Celestin did and how they are trying to move on from it will shut down the box office potential for this in a heartbeat. You want to pay $15 to cross a line of people protesting sexual assault to go see a movie by two men who committed it and got away with it? I won’t. I’m a man and I’d stand with them and pass out The Daily Beast article to anyone thinking of buying a ticket.

        • Kitkat9301 says: August 24, 2016 at 6:26 am

          Oh I have no doubt this is what’s going to happen. It’s still all about Fox and Hollywood trying to force a narrative that continues to get backlash. I mean read this article. The only part of Parker’s statement we get is the one line talking about the woman, ignoring the paragraph’s of self serving hypocrisy in the rest of the statement. Part of the irony is that Fox with Parker planned a college campus tour to only discuss slavery as if Parker should be any kind of advocate for Social Justice, while he himself inserted a gang rape scene(fictitious by the way) and wants to ignore that aspect, as if it’s an afterthought. Do Parker and Fox not realize the supercharged atmosphere that exists at college campuses today as it relates to sex crimes? I mean look at all the outrage over Brock Turner’s sentence for a witnessed rape and how the judge showed more sympathy for the perpetrator than the victim. Race is an important discussion to have but perhaps a better discussion on college campuses is why sex crimes are treated as afterthoughts even in films. It’s good enough to use in this case as a catalyst for it’s protagonist but not good enough to form a real discussion around. I believe Parker is guilty and if he cannot accept legal punishment, he should accept real owness for his role in this event and stop using his verdict of “not guilty” of some great proclamation of his innocence, but as an opportunity to do for the survivors of sexual assault what he claims to want to do for the rest of us “sinners”.

      • Johnny says: August 24, 2016 at 5:28 am

        True. It’s all P.R. spin: Ed Zwick is an important AFI board member and was an exec producer on “Birth of a Nation”. AFI has a stake in this, they are not neutral…

    35. Joe says: August 24, 2016 at 4:00 am

      Nate Parker should go on a long vacation. And never come back. I will not pay for his film.

    36. psu alum says: August 24, 2016 at 3:31 am

      Read the transcripts. Sickening. Predatory rapists.

      • Arron Frazier says: August 24, 2016 at 12:14 pm

        I read the transcripts. He had consensual sex. You white supremacist are foaming at the mouth?

      • Honest Man says: August 24, 2016 at 4:31 am

        Read the court document. Sickening. I don’t see anyone cancelling woody allen movies

        • Caleb says: August 24, 2016 at 8:31 am

          Where can we read them ?

    37. R Lucas says: August 24, 2016 at 3:28 am

      Now the he said, she said, accusation now has him labeled a rapist. We hardly care about the truth, or whether the allegation is true. The fact that it was made is all we need to know.

      • Tina Mallette says: August 24, 2016 at 9:04 am

        This is what disturbs me when is an acquittal an acquittal. Why can’t we separate the person from the art and judge the art on its merit?

        What is more nauseating is that what goes on in Hollywood everyday is more disgusting than what these two men did – the pedophiles abusing child actors the casting couch alive and well etc and all covered up by wall of silence just as long and high as the wall off silence on college campuses.

      • gloria monti says: August 24, 2016 at 7:27 am

        I have cancelled Allen’s movies from my list. A long time ago.

    38. phil says: August 24, 2016 at 3:01 am

      I’M SICK OF DARK, VIOLENT MOVIES. What is wrong with film festivals today? It doesn’t take talent to make these. I enjoy light-hearted comedies. I enjoy uplifting sports films. Romantic comedies. When you take a step back, it takes more talent making these films. Sorry for bursting your bubble.

      • Brian says: August 24, 2016 at 11:46 am

        How does it take more talent to run through and unless number of “uplifting” sports cliches? There were an endless number of repetitive and cliche sports films made in the early and mid 2000’s.

        • rocknblues81 says: August 24, 2016 at 11:48 am

          Endless number of sports cliches.

      • Will C says: August 24, 2016 at 4:14 am

        “When you take a step back, it takes more talent making these films.”

        Except it doesn’t. Anyone and their mother can make a standard film that depends on a set formula and requires the audience to leave their brain at the door and their emotions at 11. The talent comes from taking something “dark”, as you put it, and finding a human way of exploring it. And if you think filmmakers like Michael Haneke, Martin Scorsese and George Miller are talentless, then I’m sorry, but you are genuinely mistaken.

        • rocknblues81 says: August 24, 2016 at 11:59 am

          Maxxon says:
          August 24, 2016 at 6:08 am
          Nah, the dark way is very easy.

          You just want dumb, predictable and simple-minded garbage.

          There are endless number of these movies that have been made over the last 15 years.

          There all the same damn movie.

          Remember the Titans
          We Are Marshall
          The Blind Side
          The Rookie
          Glory Road
          When the Game Stands Tall
          Coach Carter
          Million Dollar Arm

          All the same movie basically.

          If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

        • Maxxon says: August 24, 2016 at 6:08 am

          Nah, the dark way is very easy.

    39. Jack Hamilton says: August 24, 2016 at 2:30 am

      I’m glad AFI did the right thing. To often rapists are allowed to get away with it and prosper. I have always felt disgust for people who go see Woody Allen and Roman Pulaski movies. Have they no shame?

      • rocknblues81 says: August 24, 2016 at 12:00 pm

        Sorry Jack. I was trying to reply to the guy above you.

      • rocknblues81 says: August 24, 2016 at 11:57 am

        You just want dumb, predictable and simple-minded garbage.

        There are endless number of these movies that have been made over the last 15 years.

        There all the same damn movie.

        Remember the Titans
        We Are Marshall
        The Blind Side
        The Rookie
        Glory Road
        When the Game Stands Tall
        Coach Carter
        Million Dollar Arm

        All the same movie basically.

    40. Just asking says: August 24, 2016 at 12:31 am

      Were any of you there? Do any of you have any inside knowledge of what kinds of offers and plea deals transpired between the legal sides in the trial? Is it possible that you don’t know all of the facts, or that there may be other reasons why a woman that you don’t know might commit suicide?

      • jedi77 says: August 24, 2016 at 2:03 am

        Go to Buzzfeed at read some of the transcripts.
        I wasn’t there, no, but after reading through those, I am inclined to not give him the benefit of the doubt.
        He was a major douche in college apparently, and the materials released on Buzzfeed leave little doubt that something very questionable happened to that poor girl.

        Call it rape, call it a misunderstanding on Nate’s part, call it youth gone wild, call it what you will, but the fault clearly lies with Nate and his buddy, not with the girl.

    41. GlobeTrekker says: August 24, 2016 at 12:11 am

      I am glad to hear about this development. I do hope that other rapists and pedophiles get treated the same. I hope Woody Allen, Bryan Singer, Polanski and others are not allowed to prosper while their victims are still suffering.

    42. jedi77 says: August 23, 2016 at 11:49 pm

      Credit is due to the AFI.
      Cudos for making a difficult and brave desicion – and for choosing wisely.

    43. BillUSA says: August 23, 2016 at 11:34 pm

      Nice to see some common sense seeping back into society. First the U.S. judge blocked Obama’s transgender directive and AFI decided not to become synonymous with an un-convicted rapist. I know the details, so don’t waste your time. He was there, didn’t try to stop a rape, therefore he’s a rapist. Deal with it.

      It is telling how the black racists in Hollywood aren’t whining about Parker’s treatment in all of this. I’d like to think it’s because they’ve grown up to accept that this isn’t another case of “whitey trying to bring down a black man”, but I’m too old to let that blind me to reality.

      No, it’s most to do with money and the prospect of not being able to get their hands on it for fear of retributions borne of supporting a fellow black actor who (allegedly) stood still while a drunken woman was raped.

      • Kitkat9301 says: August 24, 2016 at 6:39 am

        I was with a lot of your points Bill until you start bringing in politics. So I don’t really know what to think other than I don’t believe your posts are as noble as you want to come across. There are many of us out there who do believe that minorities have been discriminated against, who are appalled and how the entertainment business seems to shield “certain types”(Woody Allen, Polanski, Singer, Bill Cosby) and can still be appalled at what we see as a miscarriage of justice. What does a star athlete at a university which was the prototype of condoning sexual predators have to do with the transgender issue or black racism. This is about gender inquality and a known fact that women are continually treated as the perpetrators when sex crimes are committed against them, by our legal system and by a society still filled with blatant misogyny. Look at Fox News also as an example of how are patriarchal types still seems to get away with a number of crimes against women and very little outrage there. I am glad to see people standing up on this incident but I am suspect of some who seem outraged but turn a blind eye to other miscarriages of justice when perpetrated by “certain types”.

      • jedi77 says: August 23, 2016 at 11:51 pm

        Please don’t throw transgender people and rapists under the same bus.
        I don’t know what you have against transgender people, but I am quite sure you have never been hurt by one, so just leave them alone, and they will you alone, I promise.

        As for Nate Parker – I agree wholeheartedly.

        • KD says: August 24, 2016 at 2:04 am

          Also, for you to throw a side insult at blacks, in addition to your unnecessary remark about transgender people, makes you look ignorant and, quite frankly, extremely uneducated.

    44. James says: August 23, 2016 at 10:44 pm

      And truthfully, I think the only thing he’s “devastated” about is the thought of not getting his precious Oscar.

    45. James says: August 23, 2016 at 10:39 pm

      I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t want to host that guy right about now either.

    46. spike says: August 23, 2016 at 10:36 pm

      Fox, you bought a lemon given the background of the filmmaker who is an out-and-out hypocrite. I hope you lose your shirt on it and learn your lesson to do background checks on your filmmakers before you buy their films.

      Parker, the thug scum, is quoted as saying, “I cannot, nor do I want to, ignore the pain she endured during and following our trial.” You scumbag thug. If she was in all that pain during the trial why didn’t you must come out and admit you raped her, thus sparing her the pain of the trial, instead of relying on your sleezebag attorney to get you off on a technicality.

      Here’s the bottom line. Parker,you made the film for money, pure and simple. Until you atone for what you did with a lot of pro bono work to help rape victims and their families, no one should go see any of your films. and no studio should buy them. Boycott your rapist ass.

      • Marley says: August 24, 2016 at 6:34 am

        How is he a thug skum or rapist ? He was proven non- guilty of the crime, I know that you’re probably a middle aged white male with daughters or whatever and it pains you to hear of movie of REAL events were a slave fight backs and kills his “master”. Just say that this movie makes you uncomfortable because you’re and it should make you uncomfortable because this story really happened. Nonetheless is it important that this story be told.

        • Boycott this film says: August 24, 2016 at 10:21 am

          He’s a thug rapist and he was not prove “not guilty,” he was acquitted on a technicality. If you read the court documents you would know he and his co-screenwriter were both guilty. They threatened and intimidated the victim and that’s why she declined to go thru a second trial.

          They knew what they did was wrong, they just didn’t care. They were only sorry they got caught and it’s the same thing now. This film will flop hard and hopefully decent people will refuse to work with either of them again.

        • Kitkat9301 says: August 24, 2016 at 6:54 am

          So you are concerned with “real” events but not concerned enough with the fact that the filmmaker inserted a fictitious “gang rape” scene as the catalyst for the protagonist? So you are completely fine using a gang rape against women simply to push a narrative you feel deserves more attention. If he didn’t want to address rape or his own sordid history with it as it relates to his movie, Mr. Parker should have followed actual history in his film rather than trying to use gang rape for shock value as the perpetrator. Since he has, sexual assault and his own history don’t get to become afterthoughts to the discussion about he and his film.

        • Moshe says: August 24, 2016 at 6:51 am

          Another angry post from a certain demographic that will never get it. You people are hopeless.

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