Nate Parker passed up a golden opportunity Sunday to engage in one of the “honest confrontations” he says we all need to have about past wrongs of every kind.
At a Toronto press conference promoting his slave rebellion movie The Birth of a Nation, which has been screening to raves at TIFF just as it did at its Sundance premiere, the writer/director and actor waffled and rambled like the most slippery of politicians, not the righteous filmmaker he claims to be.
His stated intent to “heal” past wounds through frank discussion rings hollow in the circumstances and likely has torpedoed any renewed Oscar hopes TIFF might have brought his film.
Parker did a lot of talking at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel press conference, praising the seven cast members seated alongside him, who all returned the love.
He did everything but directly answer questions relating to his 1999 charge of raping an unconscious fellow student at Penn State University, along with his roommate, Jean Celestin, who later co-wrote The Birth of a Nation.
Parker was acquitted at trial but Celestin was found guilty, although the verdict was subsequently overturned on appeal. The two men went about their lives, but the family of the 19-year-old accuser in the case said she never fully recovered from it, and committed suicide in 2012.