LOS ANGELES (AP) — The American Film Institute has canceled plans to screen writer-director Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation” for students this week amid controversies surrounding a 17-year-old rape accusation against Parker and his co-writer.
In this Aug. 11, 2016 file photo, Nate Parker arrives at the Sundance “Night Before Next” benefit in Los Angeles. The upcoming film, The Birth of a Nation, co-written, directed and starring Parker, has been celebrated as an urgent film for both an America roiled by protest over racial equality, and for Hollywood, which is still dealing with a diversity crisis. But the newfound attention on Parker has dredged up a rape allegation made against him in 1999 when he was a student and wrestler at Penn State University. Parker was acquitted in the case. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)
The school planned to show the film and host a Q&A with Parker for its fellows, but late Tuesday, AFI dean Jan Schuette sent a note to students saying they would postpone until later in the year.
It would have marked the first time Parker has appeared in public since the case resurfaced nearly two weeks ago. Parker was acquitted.
Schuette said the school plans to hold a moderated discussion to explore issues of “messenger and message, gender, race and more.”
Fox Searchlight still plans to release “The Birth of a Nation” on Oct. 7.