Dear Fox Searchlight PR Person, Nate Parker is NOT a Good Teammate
Update: I found out yesterday that Nate Parker’s accuser committed suicide in 2012. My thoughts, my prayers, my tears, my soul goes out to her family and friends. Choices have consequences- Nate Parker must live with them. Fox Searchlight was so uncaring that they LITERALLY didn’t care whether this woman lived or died — she died.
To the Fox Searchlight PR staffer that’s been tasked with monitoring my social media posts about Nate Parker and his movie, Birth of a Nation, as part of your calculations about whether to ride this out, launch an attack on me, or ignore Nate Parker’s past — here are my receipts:
Al Sharpton, National Urban League , Tom Joyner— (technically one of my readers organized this — they like to take initiative)
This ain’t my first time at the rodeo and my audience is not a bunch of Twitter warriors who flinch when faced with online attacks. We were born for it.
To help you with today’s media monitoring report on the fallout of you giving $17.5 million dollars to two men who were arrested for gang rape, I’m offering the following helpful bullet points. Feel free to copy and paste without attribution.
Bullet point #1 I read that you were going to market Birth of a Nation in Black churches. How unfortunate. Include some notes in your report about me being born and raised in the Black church. My Mama is a Sunday school teacher, my grandmother was the head of the Baptist Training Union ( BTU Represent!), my sister is a deaconess and another sister wants to be. I have absolutely no problem going to Sunday service and calling a preacher out from the pews — seen it done before. I’m prepared to go Bible verse to Bible verse with Nate Parker. Calling out false prophets and holding a Bible drill against Nate Parker would be an excellent tribute to the sisters, matrons, and teachers from the Black church who poured so much of their lives into me.
Bullet point #2 Your current strategy is on track to fail. Even if you had a lead actor and director who could talk their way out of this Nate Parker is NOT that lead actor or director. He cannot come to terms that he treated another human being horrifically. He cannot admit wrong. He appears unwilling to apologize or take responsibility. He doesn’t appear to want to look bad in front of his peers or family. He has shackled himself to a co-writer who was actually convicted of rape. He might very well be a sociopath because what sane person would choose his fellow rape defendant to co-write a screenplay and expect to market that movie in mainstream media?
Bullet point #3, Your marketing campaign is a danger to women and girls around the world. The last thing we need is more disinformation or confusion about consent, rape and sexual assault. There’s no way you pull of a successful campaign without doing actual harm to survivors and future victims. Yes, you work in the film industry, but somewhere buried deep in your soul there may be a conscience. (I know appealing to the morals of people in the entertainment industry is futile, but Fox Searchlight PR Person — you might be the exception. There is greatness in you!)
Bullet point #4 Nate Parker is of poor character. Not just because he engaged in these horrific acts 17 years ago, but because he KNEW about it and let you develop a marketing campaign with him at the forefront. How inconsiderate! He knew this and he took your $17.5 million dollars anyway. You cannot trust this man. He lacks self awareness. He is not the one to market this film and so now you’re stuck with a $17.5 million dollar film that you can’t market unless your star and director admits that he’s of low character.
Bullet point #5 Nate Parker is inconsiderate — you deserve better. You should ask yourself, “Is this the kind of person I want to spend months of my life defending?” Is this the kind of person I want to hustle to promote? Is this the kind of partner I want? Someone so inconsiderate as to let me give him $17.5 with FULL UNDERSTANDING that he was essential to my marketing plan and didn’t bother to tell me that he and the person who co-wrote the movie were accused of gang raping a woman on a college campus. When he KNOWS that sexual violence on college campuses is a raging hot issue. The nerve! You should be outraged Fox Searchlight PR Person! I’m outraged for you!
Bullet point #6- In the grand scheme of things $17.5 million is not a lot of money. You can recoup it in VOD and a limited theatrical release. Your OSCAR hopes are gone ( I hear the movie wasn’t all that awesome anyway), you should redirect your resources elsewhere and use this as a learning experience. I laud your attempt at supporting diversity in filmmaking, but there are other Black filmmakers to support.
Bullet point #7 — Did I mention I was born for this? Not only am I experienced in calling out Hollywood foolishness and winning, I’m now older, wiser than I was a decade ago when I war fueld by naiveté and righteous indignation. I don’t have a problem with being adversarial. I won’t crack under pressure and a long time ago I had to come to terms with the fact that speaking out about violence against women and girls online might cost me my life. So the usual internet trollopian hijinks won’t work on me. I’m of the internet that came before the age of micro-aggressions, problematic and “safe spaces.” Who do you think has the strongest will, me or Nate Parker?
Counterpoint # 1 — In response to any of your superiors who might be HOPING for controversy… been there, done that too. I think this time is different because from what I understand, the inciting incident in your film is a brutal sexual assault. Sure Deadline and the other trades can be bought off, but no competent reporter is going to ignore the juxtaposition of Nate Parker’s past with the acts this film purports to condemn. His past will come up over and over again — you don’t have enough in your ad budget to pay off that many reporters.
Counterpoint #2 — If you’re going to abandon mainstream media and focus on Black bloggers, you’re going to force any bloggers you pay off to promote this movie to risk a backlash from their own audiences. That’s a huge risk for them. Are they willing to risk credibility with their audiences FOREVER in order to make a quick buck from you or get to attend a red carpet event ? — I’ll be there to take names and point out their complicity of course. I know a blogger or two… or two thousand and they know me :) I’d rather not get into an online spat with my peers…but I will.
The next time you get overly excited and caught up in a bidding war at Sundance, assign an intern to conduct a Google search on the person you think will be the centerpiece of the film’s marketing campaign. Then have them go to LipStick Alley and use the search box. Yes, Lipstick Alley — they know ALL!
You can probably still salvage this albatross, but that would require Nate Parker apologizing, accepting responsibility and attempting to make amends and you an I both know that he’s not willing to do that. If he was, he already would have and you would not have been assigned to sit here and monitor my posts.
Fox Searchlight PR Person, you deserve better than Nate Parker as a teammate. He’s not willing to take one for the team or he’s incapable of taking one for the team. So why should you?
Why am I willing to assist you?
I’m semi-retired from cybercrusading and would like to stay that way, but for THIS I will make an exception. I know how all of this ends so I’d like to speed things along so that Nate Parker can disappear from my social media feeds along with his mansplaining. He is irritating and is spreading DANGEROUS messages about rape and sexual assault. He, and his rape-apologist supporters, need to slither back under the rocks they crawled out from under. So the sooner you stop paying for them to have a platform, the better off the world will be. There are better uses for your money and my time.
I’m Here if You Need Me!
Feel free to reach out to me. We probably have some mutual friends that you can use as intermediaries. I’m perfectly willing to help you draft a plan for Nate Parker to apologize, accept personal responsibility, condemn his co-writer and make amends to this woman whose life they destroyed and then he can disappear. (actually that IS the plan — just do it.) Put us all out of our misery and don’t make us sit through a nonsensical campaign to rehabilitate Nate Parker — he’s not worth your trouble and you’d wasted enough money and time on his arrogance.
So Fox Searchlight PR Person, add this to your your social media monitoring report. I look forward to seeing you in battle, but I’d rather Nate Parker just disappear… and I think you do too. Let’s work together to make that happen.
If you aren’t familiar with the HORRORS Nate Parker and the Co-writer of Birth of a Nation inflicted on a young college student at Penn State, read the trial transcripts and then ask yourself how he could take Fox Searchlight’s money and not tell them about this FIRST.