When we first heard about The Birth of a Nation, most of us around these parts were beside ourselves with excitement. I, myself, did some exceeding fawning over the story behind the movie, how Nate Parker was tired of the roles he was being offered, so he pushed through and created his own path. When the official trailer dropped, we were fully sold.
And then… well, and then everything turned to shit. Or, rather, everything was already shit but then we realized it.
After the details of Parker’s alleged rape of a fellow college student, his acquittal, the suicide of his victim, and his weird bullshit ‘but I love women’ defense, the fawning stopped. In its place, a new round of Woody/Polanski-type discussions started making the rounds, asking if we can separate a person from their work, and if we can support the work if we know it means we are supporting the person, both financially and in terms of box office reputation.
Whatever happens with his work, Nate Parker as a man is a tainted entity. In the court of public opinion, he’s guilty of being garbage, the current face of rape culture.
But just in case that idea hadn’t been firmly solidified in our brains, Variety came along to push us over the edge, and hard.
This is how they chose to sell us on a Nate Parker interview:
The only possible response to this headline:
And here’s the thing: THAT’S NOT EVEN THE ARTICLE’S ACTUAL HEADLINE. If you click the link, it leads you to “The Nate Parker Interview: What’s Next for ‘The Birth of a Nation’.” The Mel Gibson bit is one brief quote among many, which basically amounts to Mel Gibson telling Parker to take off Sundays from work.
But that clickbaitiest of clickbait weird rage Twitter link is the equivalent of saying Nate Parker gets relationship advice from Charlie Sheen, or loves talking about their kids’ health with Jenny McCarthy. Can anyone read that and not want to see Birth of a Nation LESS? It can only be how they chose to portray Parker for one simple reason:
Variety obviously HATES Nate Parker.
Or they’ve missed the last decade’s conversation surrounding Mel Gibson. Or they have no idea what humans are interested in reading. I’m gonna go ahead and guess all of the above, actually.