A California street artist has made a bold statement about his views on actor Nate Parker’s rape allegations. The director, writer and star of The Birth of a Nation has come under fire after a 17-year-old trial has resurfaced.
Atlanta Black Star reported Parker and Jean Celestin were on trial in 1999 for allegedly raping a fellow student at Pennsylvania State University. Parker was acquitted but Celestin was convicted before the case was overturned.
Parker shared on Facebook he recently learned the woman committed suicide at age 30.
“I am filled with profound sorrow,” he said. “I can’t tell you how hard it is to hear this news.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, conservative street artist Sabo edited Parker’s original movie poster to read “Rapist?” instead of “The Birth of a Nation.” In both versions, an American flag is tied in a noose around Parker’s neck for his role as Nat Turner, who led a revolt of enslaved Africans to freedom in Virginia.
“I was very offended when I first saw the unedited, original poster,” Sabo told THR. “What it tells young, influential Blacks is that their country is out to hang them, that they don’t stand a chance so why try?”
Sabo further clarified his intention for altering the poster, which appeared throughout West Los Angeles.
“Normally I wouldn’t hit on a subject like this, but I hate everything about this poster. With the country as divided as it is, I can only imagine how many people are going to lose their lives after this movie comes out. I can only imagine how many white people are going to get beat up just for being white.”
After addressing his college sexual assault allegations to Variety last week, Parker made another statement maintaining his innocence, but fans gave the letter a cold response.
“As a 36-year-old father of daughters and person of faith, I look back on that time as a teenager and can say without hesitation that I should have used more wisdom,” the filmmaker said in part. “I look back on that time, my indignant attitude and my heartfelt mission to prove my innocence with eyes that are more wise with time. I see now that I may not have shown enough empathy even as I fought to clear my name.”