*The rape backlash surrounding director Nate Parker has caused his speaking engagements at AFI & the Toronto Film Festival to be canceled. His critically acclaimed film “The Birth of a Nation” continues to be shrouded in controversy following the recent revelation that the victim in his 1999 rape case committed suicide in 2012.
Parker was slated to appear at the American Film Institute on Friday for a screening and a Q&A session, but many of the institute’s students expressed their disapproval about the event, citing Parker’s past rape allegation.
“I have been the recipient of many different passionate points of view about the screening, and I believe it is essential that we discuss these issues together — messenger and message, gender, race and more — before we see the film,” Jan Schuette, the dean of AFI, said in a statement.
Schuette indicated that a screening of the Nat Turner biopic would happen later in the year.
Although “The Birth of a Nation” will screen several times during the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival next month, the actor and director will not be available for a press conference or Q&A sessions.
Fox Searchlight acquired the film for $17.5 million at February’s Sundance Film Festival. The recent controversy around the 1999 rape charge, of which Parker was acquitted in 2001, has put a cloud over the project’s release.
READ RELATED STORY: AFI Cancels ‘Birth of a Nation’ Screening and Nate Parker Q&A
Meanwhile, while it was the white media that unearthed details about the rape case Parker says he’s most disappointed with black folks for not supporting him, no matter what the circumstances of the decades old allegations case might be.
According to Variety magazine, Parker is disappointed over the backlash on social media from black folks. The publication wrote:
A source in communication with him says that he’s in a low place. He vacillates between thinking the case is resurfacing now after 17 years because of a Hollywood conspiracy against him or just bad luck. 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.
SandraRose.com notes how Parker is even more “mad at himself, for bringing up that “painful moment” in a ploy for sympathy that backfired badly.”
Nate and Fox Searchlight underestimated the public’s response to the 17-year-old college campus rape case. They also underestimated how women — black women in particular, would retaliate against him for his lack of remorse.
One LA blogger also wrote:
“I can just tell that he’s rarely ever been held accountable for his own actions. That is why he is blaming others, and playing the victim.”