*Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs weighed in on the backlash surrounding Nate Parker, saying his film “The Birth of a Nation” should be judged on its own merit.
Approached by a TMZ pap on Thursday, she said she hasn’t yet seen the film from writer, director and star Parker, but added, “I know just by the conversation that has gone on at Sundance that it’s clearly a movie that filmgoers should go and see.”
In 1999, Parker and co-writer Jean Celestin were accused of rape by a female classmate. Parker was acquitted at trial while Celestin was found guilty, but his conviction was later overturned on appeal. Parker recently spoke to several media outlets about the case. It also was revealed that the accuser committed suicide in 2012.
When asked about the issue of Parker’s “presumed guilt,” Boone Isaacs replied: “That’s one issue, that’s his personal issue. And then there’s the issue of the movie.” She added, “The important thing is for people to see it and enjoy the film, be impressed by the film. And I think that is what is very important. People need to see this movie.”
Is she worried that it could be impacted in a negative way? “Now you’re making a guess about the possibility,” she said. “This is my belief, is that people need to see the movie and judge the movie.”