In case you don’t know, Nate Parker is a Hollywood actor. At the age of 36, Nate wrote, produced and directed ‘The Birth of a Nation’, a film that was supposed to be huge for black people and for Nate himself. Since he also starred in this film, ‘The Birth of a Nation’ was being heavily shopped around as the film that is going to secure a couple of Academy Awards next year. Before this whole scandal broke, the film has already won praises and awards at the places it was screened. The only reason we are commenting on this whole situation is that we have seen a film in which Nate Parker was in called ‘Beyond The Lights’ and to us, this whole thing is not that shocking for some reason at first, but as we dug further and more details came out, it’s just plain disgusting and inhumane what Nate did. The other reason, we are reporting this is because this thing happens to a lot of women and it destroys them. We are happy that this issue has come out now and a lot of people, especially black people, are standing up against him. There have been a few black actors though, who have been supporting him. It could be because they did something similar. Now what is this scandal, you ask? Read on.
The Nate Parker Scandal
Who Is Nate Parker?
A 36-year old actor, who’s married with 4 daughters. He wrote, produced and directed ‘The Birth of a Nation’. He also acted in it. His co-writer on the film is his friend from college, Jean Celestin.
What did Nate Parker do?
In 1999, while studying in Penn State University, Nate Parker and his friend, Jean Celestin, were both accused of raping an 18-year-old white girl from the same college.
What was Nate Parker accused of?
Nate Parker, along with his friend, Jean Celestin were accused of rape, sexual assault, indecent assault and involuntary deviate sexual encounter. While both Nate and Jean testified that the victim was sober that night, there was other witnesses that testified the victim was so drunk that she could barely stand. Two witnesses were there at the bar with her drinking prior to her meeting Nate.
How did Nate Parker react?
Nate Parker was a star athlete in the same university and he feared that this case would ruin the chance of getting a bright future for him and his friend, Jean Celestin. So he used his black power in the university to shame this white girl and make people think that she just “cried rape because he’s a black man”. He tried to make it into a white people turning on black people thing. He had the assistance of his friends to make this girl’s life miserable in college.
Where’s The Proof?
When the victim reported the incident to the police, she was sent to be tested at the hospital, as is the case when a rape case is reported. The doctor, who examined her, gave her statement in court that there was signs of trauma in her cervix and that the victim was in a lot of pain in her abdominal area.
What was going on before and during the trial?
Despite being released on bail and that no contact was to be made with the victim in this case, Nate Parker conducted ‘a campaign of harassment’ with the help of his other black friends in the university. They revealed her real name and showed her picture to other students on campus, which was so far kept hidden, in an attempt to find people in similar situations as them or to prove that she was a drunk.
Who was the victim?
She was a smart girl, who skipped several grades and made it to college on scholarship. She was friends with Nate Parker and couldn’t believe that he made her get involved in a situation like this. In fact, he denied everything, even denying that someone else was present in the room with them until the victim falsely claimed that she got pregnant. Then only, Nate admitted that there was someone else and even gave the person’s name to her. The police recorded this whole conversation.
How did the victim feel?
The girl, after being harassed, attempted suicide twice in college. Seeing that the university protected her accusers more than her, she sued them in 2002, where she put forward all the proofs on how Nate and Jean were harassing her. She accused them of causing her severe depression, sleeplessness, and anxiety attacks…unable to attend classes or leave her room.
What happened to the victim?
Her life changed after the incident. According to her brother, she was never the same. The fact that justice was not brought to her destroyed her spirit and she couldn’t continue her studies and had to leave college. In 20012 at the age of 30, she took her own life by swallowing hundreds of sleeping pills. The fact that she killed herself because of “major depressive disorder with psychotic features, PTSD due to physical and sexual abuse, polysubstance abuse”, does it still mean to some people that she made the whole thing up? That Nate and Jean are not guilty and were wrongly accused of this whole incident?
What happened to Nate Parker and Jean Celestin after the trial?
Nate Parker was found not guilty on the basis of “he already had an intimate relationship with the victim”. Jean Celestin was sentenced to 6 months in prison, a sentence that was later overturned. So, he also ended up as not being guilty. After that, they went on to their lives like nothing happened because to this day, they believed they did nothing wrong. They continued their studies and continued to represent the college as athletes. Nate went to Hollywood and Jean followed, soon after.
How Nate Parker Is Feeling Now?
He’s disappointed over the backlash on social media and that the African-American online community hasn’t been more supportive. And he’s even mad at himself, for underestimating the public’s interest in a court case that happened so long ago.
What happens to Nate Parker and Jean Celestin’s film ‘The Birth of a Nation’ now?
Several screenings of ‘The Birth of a Nation’ have been canceled since the media has gotten hold of this incident that happened in 1999. Nate Parker has issued several Facebook posts to continue proclaiming his innocence in this whole thing as well as to remind us all that he’s a man of faith, is a husband, his mother lives with him and has a daughter. Following the light of this incident, he also decided to claim everywhere that only he wrote the film, it’s not a collaboration with his friend, Jean Celestin.
The question is now that you know all this, would you support his films or do you think his career is done and over with? Should be separate the art from the artist?