*Anthony Anderson has been in Nate Parker‘s shoes, so when asked about Parker’s old rape case, and how it will affect the actor/director’s highly anticipated “The Birth of A Nation,” he spoke cautiously. Anderson admits he’s not sure if the backlash will harm the success of the film, but the “Black-ish” actor says he will still be in the theater rooting for him.
“I have no idea [if the rape charge will affect the film], but you know what, I think he’s a great guy and an excellent filmmaker, and a great actor. That’s what we should focus on.”
Anderson, like Parker, was accused of rape in 2004 by a “would-be extra” on the set of “Hustle & Flow.” A Memphis judge dismissed rape charges against the actor, saying testimony by his accuser was some of the most “suspicious” he had ever heard.
Judge Anthony Johnson said the woman’s testimony at a preliminary hearing did not produce probable cause to let the charges stand.
“This is absolutely the most suspicious case I’ve ever heard,” the judge said. Defense lawyers said the 25-year-old woman accused Anderson in hopes of getting money from him.
The judge “thought this case needs to be stopped and stopped right now,” defense attorney Leslie Ballin said. The woman was seeking a job as an extra in “Hustle & Flow” when she accused Anderson and assistant director Wayne Witherspoon of attacking her in a trailer on the movie set. A rape charge also was dismissed against Witherspoon.
As far as Parker’s case, he and his friend Jean Celestin, were accused of raping a young woman on the campus of Pennsylvania State University in 1999. At the time, Parker was 19. The unidentified woman–who committed suicide in 2012–claimed Parker, now 37, and Celestin had sex with her without her consent during a drunken night.
Celestin, a writer who worked on “The Birth of A Nation,” served six months in prison, and he later appealed the case in 2005. He was cleared of charges after the victim failed to testify again.
Many have questioned whether the newfound interest in the case will affect ticket sales for “The Birth of a Nation,” which is being touted as a masterpiece by Hollywood watchers.
Interestingly, even though Parker hasn’t tried to hide his past rape case (it’s included in his Wikipedia biography), the actor’s recent attempts to address the incident only intensified criticism.