Rape activism group plan candlelight vigil at The Birth of a Nation screening

'F**k Rape Culture' will stage a sit-in protest at a local Hollywood screening of the film on Thursday, 6 October

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The Independent Culture

The group 'F**k Rape Culture' - which consists of artists, filmmakers, and women in Hollywood - will stage a silent sit-in for a local screening of Nate Parker's The Birth of a Nation

The Hollywood Reporter states the protest will take place at ArcLight Cinemas' Hollywood location at 7PM on Thursday, 6 October; in response to the controversy surrounding a 1999 trial in which Nate Parker and Jean Celestin (who co-wrote The Birth of a Nation) were accused of raping an 18-year-old woman while unconscious, when studying at Penn State.

Parker was acquitted in 2000, though Celestin was found guilty and sentenced to six months in prison, later appealing the verdict in a second trial which was thrown out due to the victim's inability to testify again. It emerged over summer that the woman at the centre of the case had repeatedly attempted to commit suicide in the weeks and months following her accusation, later dying in 2012 at age 30. 

A statement from 'F**k Rape Culture' reads, "We recognize the need to hold space for those celebrating the advancement of people of color in Hollywood while continuing to fight for the victims of sexual assault and rape around the world."

Distributor Fox Searchlight, having paid a record $17.5 million for the film after its critically lauded debut at Sundance Film Festival, has tightly controlled the film's publicity since the controversy ignited; with the film's Toronto International Film Festival press conference growing heated under the moderator's total avoidance of questions about the scandal. 

The Women's Law Project, who represented the accuser in her complaint against the unversity's handling of her case and alleged harrassment by the accused, has released a statement saying they would not be supporting the boycott of Parker's film. "While we have compassion for sexual-assault survivors and advocates who choose to not see the film, we do not personally support a boycott of Birth of a Nation," stated Carol E. Tracy, executive director of the group.

The Birth Of A Nation - Trailer

Parker recently appeared on 60 Minutes, the first interview since the scandal erupted; responding to Anderson Cooper's question on the subject with, "I don’t feel guilty.As a Christian man? Just being in that situation, yeah, sure,” he says. “I’m 36-years-old right now, and my faith is very important to me, you know, so looking back through that lens, I definitely feel like it’s not the lens I had when I was 19 years old."

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