Two More Sides of the Nate Parker Coin

A tease of this weekend's 60 Minutes interview and an excoriating Variety guest column.

Nate Parker is right. He was tried and acquitted by a jury. The sister of his alleged victim is also right. The 1999 incident and aftermath gradually destroyed that woman, her family and haunts relatives to this day.

These disparate elements were on full display Thursday thanks to 60 Minutes teasing this weekend’s interview of Parker with Anderson Cooper (booked before the recent controversy) and Variety, through reporter Gene Maddaus, posting the excoriating thoughts of Sharon Loeffler. Here’s her perspective on a topic that has been raised by others in recent months about the narrative of The Birth of a Nation:

As her sister, the thing that pains me most of all is that in retelling the story of the Nat Turner slave revolt, they invented a rape scene. The rape of Turner’s wife is used as a reason to justify Turner’s rebellion.

This is fiction. I find it creepy and perverse that Parker and [co-writer Jean] Celestin would put a fictional rape at the center of their film, and that Parker would portray himself as a hero avenging that rape.

Historical records do indeed show that spiritual visions were the trigger for the historic and very bloody 1831 slave rebellion. Loeffler is calling on Fox Searchlight to either add a disclaimer about the pivotal rape scene or remove that sequence altogether.

The Birth of a Nation opens in theaters Oct. 7.