An activism group is planning to stage a candlelight vigil during a screening of The Birth of a Nation to protest against director Nate Parker’s old rape allegations.
The filmmaker and actor was 19 years old when he was accused of raping a fellow student at Penn State University in 1999 and he was later acquitted, and after this was revealed in an interview with Variety in August, some film festival bosses have dropped the film from their schedules while Parker has been inundated with questions about the controversy while promoting the movie.
Birth of a Nation, about a black preacher who orchestrates a slave uprising, is due to be released in U.S. cinemas from Friday and activism group F**k Rape Culture, made up of artists, filmmakers and women in the industry, are planning to stage a silent candlelight vigil during an early showing of the drama at the ArcLight Hollywood cinema on Thursday night.
Event organizer Elyse Cizek, a sexual assault survivor, wrote on Facebook, “Nate Parker has the platform at this time to speak to his brothers on how to listen to us, respect our boundaries and rights as women, and lead the conversation on consent. When this happens, when he is willing to listen before silencing us, and when he can join the dialogue on what can be done to advance the voices of women everywhere silenced by rape culture and toxic masculinity, I will be his greatest support.
“Until then I will not stand for it. Instead I will sit, in quiet solidarity, with those in need of a moment of silence for the lives and stories ignored by those who care more about the appearance of change than the responsibility of creating it.”
Parker said he will not apologize for being falsely accused during an interview on U.S. news show 60 Minutes on Sunday and he told talk show host Steve Harvey in a separate interview he hopes the controversy will open up the conversation about sexual violence.
The movie remains on the line-up for the BFI London Film Festival, which kicked off on Wednesday. Parker and his co-stars Gabrielle Union and Armie Hammer are due to hit the red carpet for the European Premiere on 11 October.
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