Hopes that this year’s movie awards season, which features a relatively high proportion of people of color in the running for glory, would avoid the contentious race rows that have blighted the Oscars in recent years have proved unfounded.
A movement is growing on social media and online to declare Hollywood as racist because Casey Affleck is being nominated for Best Actor by various awards bodies for his performance in Manchester by the Sea, while director-actor Nate Parker is being overlooked for his slavery epic The Birth of a Nation.
Today Affleck got a Best Actor in a Drama nomination for the Golden Globe Awards next month while Parker was snubbed.
Parker was acquitted of raping a female student while she was barely conscious while he was studying at Penn State in 2001, while Affleck settled suits alleging sexual harassment from two women who worked on his film I’m Still Here in 2010.
Although the two cases are being compared to each other, the two individuals and films are very different cases. Parker’s was a criminal case, while Affleck’s was a civil one. The Birth of a Nation has received a less enthusiastic critical re-evaluation since it premiered at Sundance Film Festival almost a year ago, while Manchester by the Sea has generated much more favorable reviews.
Since Parker’s film also depicts two rapes, arguably its director’s offscreen history bears more relevance to The Birth of a Nation than Affleck’s past does to Manchester by the Sea. Yet many are seeing the two films’ differing fates as a sign that the #OscarsSoWhite controversy is alive and well.
John Nolte writing for film website The Daily Wire declared: “If this is not racism, if this is not a bunch of white leftists using the stereotype of the scary sexual black predator to signal their own precious virtue, please tell me what actual racism would look like.”
Kevin O’Keeffe of Mic reckoned: “The allegations against Affleck are being treated as footnotes in a man’s march to an Oscar nomination, while Parker’s became a defining, front-page entertainment story. But the difference in treatment almost certainly isn’t a coincidence—and it’s absolutely worth talking about.”
People are certainly talking about it on Twitter:
Casey Affleck is up 4 Golden Globe & Oscar next…yet he was accused of multiple sexual allegations & payoffs but Nate Parker was destroyed
— CharliePeach🍑 (@PoliticsPeach) December 12, 2016
Hollywood is racist. WHITE Casey Affleck gets a pass for raping 2 women while BLACK Nate Parker has been vilified for an accusation #racism
— #IAmPhilandoCastile (@Wisdomb4All) December 6, 2016
It’s fye how Casey Affleck and Nate Parker both got rape shit in the past but ones an oscar front runner and the other got boycotted
— starmandem (@EsskraLoaded) December 11, 2016
Lol Casey Affleck won’t get the Nate Parker treatment because white dudes should be allowed to have their heroes.
— Lando CalDRIZZYan (@Mike_SaintEvens) December 7, 2016
Hollywood is sending a clear message
Casey Affleck (nom. for Golden Globe) settled
Nate Parker (crickets) acquittedhttps://t.co/kL75gzO9VY
— KLM Brooklyn (@KLMBrooklyn) December 12, 2016
— audrey (@amendanvers) December 12, 2016
Sadly, Nate Parker doesn’t have access to the “be white” shield that Mel Gibson and Casey Affleck exploit with impunity.
— yorick (@fuckclevernames) December 12, 2016
Why is the media quiet on Casey Affleck when just a few months ago they wanted Nate Parker’s head on a stick
— Lil B the Ashygod (@AshyGod) December 12, 2016
Casey Affleck’s still lauded despite the sexual harassment claims against him yet Nate Parker was demolished in seconds. WTF #CriticsChoice
— Areeba Abid (@ScatterBrain21) December 12, 2016
So, Nate Parker gets ripped to shreds but Casey Affleck wins awards? https://t.co/sJju1ZA0qH
— Mala Bhattacharjee (@badnecklace) December 12, 2016