Director of award-winning 'Birth of a Nation' responds to news that his rape accuser died

News came out Tuesday of the death in 2012 of the woman who accused “The Birth of a Nation” director Nate Parker of raping her while the two were students at Penn State in 1999. Her brother says she committed suicide.

Now Parker has released a lengthy post on his Facebook page responding to the news.

His statement is in full below:

Parker was acquitted of the rape charge in a 2001 trial

But now the movie industry is wondering how the distributor of “The Birth of a Nation,” Fox Searchlight, will rebound from this wave of negative press about Parker’s past. 

Parker was to go on a nationwide roadshow to churches and college campuses to speak about social issues leading up to the film’s release on October 7. According to Variety, those plans are now in question, though the roadshow was a condition in the deal Fox and Parker made at Sundance for the film, which the studio paid $17.5 million to acquire.

However, in a statement released Tuesday via The Wrap, Searchlight proclaimed that it’s behind Parker:

“Fox Searchlight is aware of the incident that occurred while Nate Parker was at Penn State. We also know that he was found innocent and cleared of all charges. We stand behind Nate and are proud to help bring this important and powerful story to the screen.” 

“The Birth of a Nation” is a passion project of Parker’s that he’s been trying to make for years, and since it won the grand jury and audience prizes at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, it has received early Oscar attention. It looks at the 1831 slave rebellion led by Nat Turner (played by Parker) in Virginia. 

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