‘Birth of a Nation’ Director Nate Parker Makes First Appearance Since Rape Trial Controversy
Movies| | By Sara Wilkins
It earned rave reviews, and was generating early Oscars buzz, but the project was overshadowed after news of Nate’s involvement in a rape case in 1999 surfaced. The filmmaker has kept a low profile since news broke of the rape acquittal, but made his first public appearance introducing his critically acclaimed film at the annual film festival last Friday. “I want to thank you for your time and for coming to see our film,” Parker told the crowd. “This film has been such a labor of love for us and we are just desperately proud to present it to you,” he added. The film’s cast received a standing ovation after the screening, People reports. Parker, along with his The Birth of a Nation collaborator Jean Celestin, had been accused of sexual assault by an 18-year-old classmate at Penn State University back in 1999. Parker maintained the sex was consensual and he was later acquitted in a 2001 trial, while Celestin was sentenced to serve six months behind bars but his conviction was subsequently overturned after an appeal. Parker courted controversy after appearing dismissive toward the alleged victim in an interview with Variety last month when the rape case news broke, but later apologized profusely for any offense he may have caused. It was also reported the woman involved in the case committed suicide in 2012 at the age of 30. The Birth of a Nation hits cinemas on October 7.