Monday, May 20, 2024

Oscars: UPDATE “Birth of a Nation” Director Nate Parker’s Assault Accuser Committed Suicide


Here’s an update on the Nate Parker story. Variety is reporting that the young woman who Parker and his college friends were accused of assaulting in 1999 committed suicide in 2012. It’s good reporting and it’s a tragic story for everyone.

Parker was acquitted in 2001, his friend (and co-writer of “The Birth of a Nation”) was found guilty but that was overturned on appeal. The young woman tried to commit suicide twice after the trial. Now it turns out via her brother that she succeeded at killing herself in 2012. She left behind a child.

I questioned why all this came up the other day. It’s obvious that after so many years it was dug up to kill the Oscar campaign and release of “Birth of a Nation.” That’s a separate subject.

But this new piece of information will likely do in “Birth of a Nation.” What a shame for everyone because the movie is obviously important. The tragedy of the woman’s death, the brother’s interview, the fact that she left a child– this seems insurmountable to deal with in real life terms, forget the Academy Awards. Can the movie still be judged on its own? And how would anyone do publicity?

This must come as a shock on the movie side to everyone involved. It doesn’t help that none of this was addressed when Variety and Deadline did their original stories. Didn’t they know? (I think they did.)

to be continued…

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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