Free Nate Parker
When will he stop being punished for something he didn’t do in the first place?
Black People Twitter already had it out for Nate Parker, in part because he’s proudly masculine and also because he’s married to a white woman.
He’s an obscure-enough figure that I hadn’t so much as heard of him before the Birth of a Nation, though come to find out I’d seen a few of his films. But I consulted the Google the other day, after an unfortunate incident from his past resurfaced just in time for the promo cycle for Birth, and I saw that blogs had written about him being married to a “mediocre” white woman and saying in an interview that he wouldn’t play a gay character in a film because he wanted to “preserve black men.”
I could kinda see being upset with him for not wanting to take a gay role, if it were a matter of him hating gay people and not wanting to contribute to a film that presents a positive image of a gay person, since, what’s the likelihood, really, that a Hollywood film, in 2016, would present a negative image of a gay person? Even if it were a black gay person, I don’t think they would want to run that risk.
The rights to the Birth of a Nation were purchased for $17.5 million, the largest acquisition in the history of Sundance, by Fox Searchlight, the fake-indie film division of Rupert Murdoch’s 20th Century Fox, which, like all Hollywood studios, is run by the gay mafia, so there’s no way Nate Parker harbors any negative views about gay people. He may have even had to blow someone to get that money.
This was obviously a matter of him not wanting to be forced to put on a dress, like so many black, male actors before him, as part of an ongoing effort to emasculate black men, an issue a lot more complex than him not wanting to kiss another guy on the lips (which is understandable). In fact, it can be argued that anyone upset with him for not wanting to play a gay character is racist, though maybe now is not the best time to make such an argument.
Whether or not his wife is mediocre, I suppose, comes down to a matter of taste. I’ve seen pics where she wasn’t half bad-looking, but then my interest in (read obsession with) mediocre white women is legendary in certain corners of the Internets. I could only hope to marry such a woman. He could probably do better, bur keep in mind, she got with him years before the Birth of a Nation, when he was probably broke. And she must have known that he once stood trial for raping a white woman.
Her father, incidentally, is the most understanding person in the history of white people. Can anyone put me in contact with him? I might need to borrow some money and never pay it back.
In 1999, while a student at–where else?–Penn State, Parker participated in what you might call an impromptu group sexual encounter with an 18-year-old girl who later claimed to have been too wasted to have consented. Supposedly, Parker was hitting that and signaled for a couple of his homeboys, who were surreptitiously having a look, to join in. One opted out. The other one, Birth co-writer Jean Celestin, opted in, so to speak, through the front entrance.
The victim claimed to have woken up with Celestin in her mouth, which is not any way you’d want to start the day, the fact that it was actually late in the even notwithstanding.
There was a trial, two years later. Parker got off, reportedly because he’d already had consensual sex with the victim once before. Celestin was convicted of what couldn’t have been much more than a nominally inappropriate act, not unlike what 2Pac got locked up for, having only been sentenced to six months in jail. He later got off on appeal, when the victim refused to testify.
I can’t claim to know much about the case, but it doesn’t sound like anyone else can either. Most articles I’ve read have repeated the bit about Parker getting off on the basis of having previously received consent (which doesn’t always carry over to subsequent encounters), but I’ve also heard, albeit on a podcast, that he had consensual sex with her again the morning after the alleged incident and that she called him two months later talking about how her period was late.
It was also two months later when she reported the alleged rape to a faculty adviser, which suggests to me that maybe she wanted to be in a relationship with Parker, and he wasn’t as interested, even though she was white. He wasn’t trying to enter into a serious relationship with someone he’d already used as a pair of Chinese handcuffs along with a Haitian guy. At that age, you should be trying to play the field anyway, unless that’s the only girl you can possibly score with. [major key emoji]
The idea that Nate Parker got off because he had consensual sex with the girl once before and therefore he should have been allowed to have sex with her while she was asleep is ridiculous to me. Even the judge in the Brock Turner case wouldn’t have gone for some shit like that, especially from a couple of black guys.
Most likely, Parker got off because he really was innocent, and Celestin may have been innocent as well. We’ll never know what the result of his appeal would have been, because the girl refused to testify, and just as being found not guilty doesn’t necessarily mean you’re innocent, refusing to testify doesn’t necessarily mean you’d rather not relive the trauma of the incident. It could mean you’re afraid to face the penalty of perjuring yourself.
Ironically, the fact that Nate Parker is having to deal with this issue just goes to show how relevant the subject matter of his film remains. Upwards of 200 years after the fact, black men are still falling victim to a certain kind of lynching–a high tech lynching, if you will.
White filmmakers who have faced similarly questionable accusations, including Woody Allen and Roman Polanski, have gone on to receive the industry’s highest accolades. Nate Parker’s filmmaking career, meanwhile, is at risk of being destroyed before it can begin, as if it were one of Drew Barrymore’s children. Tragic!
Take it easy on yourself,
Originally published at tinyletter.com.